Tag Archives: Spirituality

From Poverty to Power – OR, The Realization of Prosperity and Peace

Summary

  1. James Allen discusses good and evil, the power of presence and self-mastery, truth, spiritual lessons, and more

Key Takeaways

  1. Evil is the direct result of ignorance and passing through ignorance resolves evil and leads to wisdom
  2. What you are, so is your world. The world is a reflex of you
  3. External circumstances impact you as much as you let them
  4. The cause of all power and all weakness comes from within
  5. Truth seems barren at its commencement it is only error and delusion that are inviting and enticing from the start
  6. To achieve true wealth start with becoming virtuous. And for self perfection and it shall flow from there. The truly rich see themselves as stewards and not as owners
  7. With self mastery comes mastery of the universe
  8. All the wisdom in the universe lies in self mastery and treating your enemies as thyself
  9. Salvation lies in the supreme belief in good. For, why fear or worry or doubt, if you have supreme faith?
  10. Be in supreme control of your thoughts, your mind. Daily go into the silence to find calm and gratitude. Only by controlling and channeling your thoughts will you come to make any inward progress
  11. The disbelievers wish and grumble while the believers work and wait. They know their good thoughts and hard work will eventually be rewarded. Above all, have a single aim. Let nothing distract you or pull you aside
  12. Self seeking is self destruction. He is rich who is content with what he has. He is richer who is generous with it
  13. There are two masters in this world – self and truth. Only by renouncing your self, your desires, can you hope to attain truth. Humility distinguishes the man of truth from the man of self
  14. To be in the world but not of the world is the highest victory
  15. The final test of wisdom is this: how does one live
  16. Seek continuously to give up yourself and lose yourself to the greater whole
  17. True and lasting happiness can only be found in the eternal and selfless, so give up the ephemeral and selfish wants
  18. The strongest of chains are self-forged

What I got out of it

  1. The author ties together many of the key lessons from various spiritual teachings. Great reminders and reinforcements, especially about the importance of self-mastery

The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving by Lisa Miller

Summary

  1. Spirituality is an untapped tool for human development, fulfillment, happiness, success. With this, children can learn how to connect with others and better deal with difficult situations. The author aims to map spiritual development from kids to adolescents and show what a pivotal role parents play

Key Takeaways

  1. Spirituality differs from religion and that it is a feeling of being connected to a higher power, whatever that might be for you whereas religion is more specific in what you are connected to. An authentic and personal relationship with the higher power is far more important than the specifics
  2. Spiritual children are 40% less likely to abuse substances, 60% less likely to be depressed, less likely to be susceptible to other types of deviant behavior and more likely to thrive and finding meaning, purpose, and higher levels of academic success
  3. Kids are naturally empathetic, curious, open, caring, loving, and optimistic. It is only through time and for education that they lose these things. 
  4. The 6 spiritual strengths – trusting heart-knowing, validating direct transcendent experience, encouraging natural love of nature, ritual of meditation and prayer, sense of family as special, and belief in right action. These spiritual strengths and mindset will help with feeling connected and grounded, giving meaning to life. This will greatly help with depression and loneliness too
  5. Opportunities to grow spirituality 
    1. Engage honestly and authentically with your child. Give your approval and encourage them
    2. Use spiritual language daily – direct knowing, inner compass, connection, heart knowing
    3. Share own spiritual experiences transparently with your children
    4. Connect with your kids and meet them where they are
    5. Build a spiritual practice as a family – Sunday night meditation, Shabbat dinner, other rituals 
    6. Embrace relationships with everyone and all of nature – we are all one
    7. Express the sanctity of family and how grateful you are to be part of it. You are an inter-generational self, part of a long line within your family, not separate or above, part of something larger than yourself
    8. Strive to live an inspired life. Set a high standard, love others, see transcendence in each moment

What I got out of it

  1. A decent book (far too long and ended up skimming most of it) on the importance of spirituality in a child’s life and how to go about nurturing it

The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams

Summary
  1. A dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu on how to turn ephemeral joy into an enduring trait
Key Takeaways
  1. Joy is much bigger than happiness, it is not dependent on any external circumstances.
  2. Joy is something we can cultivate and find inside even if experiencing external difficulties
  3. Reflecting on the pain and suffering of others help lessen our pain and suffering. So much depends on where we place our attention. Are we self-absorbed and focused on our individuality or do we look at the bigger picture and how we are connected to everything else
  4. Painful events are bound to happen and when they do, you must ask yourself how you can profit and grow from it
  5. Trying to achieve lasting joy through the senses is like trying to hydrate with salt water
  6. Developing deep relationships with others and showing them love, understanding and compassion is one of the best ways to cultivate joy
  7. Perhaps counterintuitive to many people is that the best way to help yourself is to help others.  You also must develop trust by showing them genuine care for their well-being
  8. The more we feel our own pain the more we can help others but the way to heal our pain is through helping others
  9. You must realize that emotion, anger and other negative states are inevitable but we should not overly beat ourselves up because of them
  10. Stress and anxiety mostly come from too much or poorly placed ambitions and expectations
  11. Stress itself is not damaging to our health but how we respond to it may be. Turning a threat into a challenge can help us better manage stress and get better perspective on it
  12. The path of joy is connection and the path of sorrow is isolation
  13. True joy is not possible without sorrow or sadness. However one must be able to find some meaning no matter how small from suffering in order to grow from it. We grow in kindness when our joy is tested
  14. The difference between prayer and meditation is blurry but some say prayer is us talking to God and meditation is when God answers
  15. Humor is a powerful force to break down barriers and show people we are all human
  16. Must get to the difficult place of choosing your highest goal, doing all you can to accomplish it but at the end not be tied to the outcome
  17. Gratitude allows us to step back and gain the wider perspective in order to see how lucky we are to be alive and to have what we have, however little it may be
  18. Not forgiving someone who has done you wrong keeps you in a negative loop, not allowing you to move on. Forgiveness allows you to move beyond the past and appreciate the present
  19. Our desire to be compassionate is demonstrated by our admiration of compassionate people
  20. Generosity is the best path to joy as the more you give the more you can receive – it is a true win-win
  21. Money can only bring you happiness if you give it away. Giving time and wisdom are also some of the best ways to receive and spread joy
  22. Ubuntu – a person is a person through other persons. We all rely on others and it is through these relationships that we become human
  23. The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu stressed cultivating compassion and establishing deep, meaningful relationships to help increase the joy in your life.
What I got out of it
  1. Practice your compassion, be generous with your time, money and wisdom, focus on other’s suffering more than your own, realize you are part of a larger ecosystem and isolation should be avoided, life’s true wealth lies in deep relationships, must experience sorrow to experience true joy, express gratitude in all circumstances. Their advice on how to attain joy and live a happy life is often simple but certainly not easy to follow

Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das

Summary
  1. Really engaging book on the importance of mindfulness and meditation and the principal tenets and practices of Buddhism. About letting go of fixed persona and becoming awake, liberated, aware
Key Takeaways
  1. Enlightenment not about becoming divine, about becoming more fully human
    1. Eliminate ignorance, to be one with all things, to be present in the now
  2. Can only find fulfillment from within
  3. Truth is found by living truly – in your own authentic way
    1. “You become a Buddha by actualizing your own original innate nature. This nature is primordially pure. This is your true nature ,your natural mind. This innate Buddha-nature doesn’t need to achieve enlightenment because it is always already perfect, from the beginningless beginning. We only have to awaken to it. There is nothing more to seek or look for.”
    2. Buddha literally means awake. Awake from what? Awaken from the dreams of delusion, confusion and suffering. Awake to all that you are and all you can be. Awake to reality, to truth, to things just as they are.”
  4. Unconditional compassion and love is at the center of us all
  5. Waking up Buddha about letting go of fixed persona and becoming awake, liberated, aware
  6. Asking right questions more important than having the right answers
  7. We are all Buddhas with potential for enlightenment – spiritual living as well as conscious dying
  8. Cultivating spirituality and awareness a full time vocation – make every moment, action, thought sacred. Practice has to be integrated into our daily lives and culture
    1. “Intrinsic awareness is the common denominator of all sentient beings. Conscious living, contemplative self-awareness, is the means to becoming all that we are. Awareness is curative. Knowing ourselves and learning to let go is the method, the most skillful means. Spirituality is a matter of self-discovery, rather than of becoming something else.”
    2. Self-transformation implies self-transcendence
    3. Spiritual necessities – pray, meditate, be aware/stay awake, bow, practice yoga, feel, chant and sing, breathe and smile, relax/enjoy/laugh/play, create/envision, let go/forgive/accept, walk/exercise/move, work/serve/contribute, listen/learn/inquire, consider/reflect, cultivate oneself/enhance competencies, cultivate contentment, cultivate flexibility, cultivate friendship and collaboration, open up/expand/include, lighten up, dream, celebrate and appreciate, give thanks, evolve, love, share/give/receive, walk softly/live gently, expand/radiate/dissolve, simplify, surrender/trust, be born anew
  9. Can only find enlightenment and truth through your own experience
  10. Death was the Buddha’s primary guru – intensifies life and alleviates boredom, procrastination, sloth
    1. Come to terms with death by destroying ego and you shall live a full and happy life
  11. All about conscious living, self-transcendence and relinquishing control
  12. We all reap exactly what we sow, there are no accidents.
  13. Every single second is a (chance) for rebirth
  14. The self is simply not what we think it is. We are a self-fulfilling prophecy of what we think and believe. Often easy to see in others but very difficult to see in self (Galilean relativity)
  15. Better to know nothing than to know what isn’t so
  16. No eternal “I” – each of us is a process in motion
  17. Seeing through the antics of our monkey-like minds is liberating
  18. Honest investigation and inquiry are the most powerful tools for enlightenment
  19. Monkey-mind is a continuous stream of delusion – thoughts and concepts are delusions, awareness is wisdom
  20. Everything is seen through the filter of our personal concerns
  21. Self-denial (like self-absorption) simply a more subtle form of egotism
  22. Aim to see the Buddha in everyone
  23. Never bottle up emotions. Rather, recognize them, experience them and release them. “Ideally we should be able to be sensitive and aware enough not only to feel life fully but also to let it go.”
  24. Om Mani Pedme Hung – the jewel is in the lotus, the wisdom and compassion we all seek are inherently within us
  25. Stillness leads to clarity
  26. The 7 Points of Mind Training
  27. How we relate to things makes all the difference
  28. Learn from all, judge no one, be kind to all, say thank you
  29. All activities should be done with one intention
  30. Determine what / who pushes your buttons and dive deep into why
  31. Ability to maintain inner joy and larger perspective are signs of a mature mind
  32. “Enlightenment feels completely comfortable, at peace and at ease in every situation and every circumstance with a sense of true inner freedom, independent of both outer circumstances and internal emotions. This requires extraordinary self-knowledge and presence of mind. It means paying close attention to how you think and how you act, and it means making an ongoing commitment to searching inward for answers. Inward. Deeper. Beneath the surface of things, not just inside yourself.”
  33. Three reasons for dissatisfaction and unhappiness (Three Poisons or Three Fires) – ignorance of the truth (see things as we would like them to be rather than how they really are), attachment (possessed by possessions, jealousy, pride, attachments define compulsions), aversion (stems from ignorance of truth and attachments and resistance to change)
  34. There is nirvanic peace in things left just as they are. That is the innermost secret refuge. If you can reach this place within yourself, then you don’t have to do or undo anything. That’s the ultimate refuge, the ultimate practice of letting go – the art of allowing things to be as they are
  35. 4 Noble Truths – Dukkha (life involves suffering, changing circumstances, flawed nature of conditioned existence), tanha (incessant, never ending thirst or attachment which causes identification with what we crave and causes suffering, one word to end craving – wisdom), nirvana exists (inconceivable inner peace, cessation of craving and clinging, the end of suffering, liberation, ever lasting freedom, fulfillment and enlightenment itself; when we realize emptiness and perfect oneness with all, the fires of duality goes out, desirelessness means lacking nothing, enlightened people have preferences but are able to be in the world but not of it), there is a tried and true path that leads away from the dissatisfaction of conditioned existence towards nirvana
  36. 5 primary hindrances – craving, ill will, sloth and torpor (spiritual laziness), restlessness, doubt
  37. The eight fold path
    1. Wisdom training – right view, right intentions
    2. Ethics training – right speech, right action, right livelihood
    3. Meditation training – right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration
  38. Essence means knowing oneself and others, what is, how things work. Wisdom is seeing the truth nature of things. Wisdom is self-knowledge, Wisdom is truth manifested as clarity of vision. Wisdom sees that light and dark are inseparable and that shadows are also light
  39. “Think of what you want, and realize that all beings want and need the same things. They are just seeking it through different ways.” (love, trust, happiness, fulfillment, the world works by reciprocation!!)
  40. Tonglen – sending and taking practice – send all your love and take other people’s difficulties – helps increase empathy
  41. Right speech
    1. Speak kindly, gently and dearly
    2. Don’t lie, be open and truthful about who you are and how you feel
    3. Speak only to help others, listen more
    4. Don’t gossip or tell tales
    5. Don’t speak harshly – no one can make us angry if we don’t already have sparks of anger inside
    6. Mantras and chanting help you attain Buddha nature
    7. Mere words are weak translations of what we really mean to say
    8. Inner solitude and noble silence is a way to empty, cleanse, heal and renew the heart and mind. This is a voluntary way to start the process of simplification and personal downsizing. The peace will help you purify your perceptions and make presence of mind more acute, clear, spacious, and even luminous. Incredible satisfaction is available when you begin experiencing the timeless truth that less can be more; that the most elegant solution is often the simplest one. Set aside one day per week/month to escape all forms of communication, spend some time alone in nature, communing with yourself
  42. Right action
    1. Life is an art form and we are the creators (Toltec = life artist)
    2. “Right” behavior is helpful rather than hurtful
    3. We develop an attitude of cherishing life when we learn to yield, to give in, to let go and soften our hearts and souls
    4. The nongrasping heart is naturally open, accepting and able to say thank you for whatever is. It is the threshold of an unconditional way of being, the supreme spiritual value
    5. Don’t steal – only use what you need, live simply, don’t grasp
    6. Give what you can (money, prayer, support, empathy, time) to all
    7. Even the briefest experience of unconditional love can be transformational
    8. Tantric practice – imagine self and partner as deities (page 211)
    9. No personal hell exists but all have hellish thoughts and experiences
    10. Inner peace, light, enlightenment helps free others too
    11. Enlightenment requires two forms of merit – from virtuous acts and from wisdom, insight, awareness and understanding
    12. Virtuous living a boon to the entire world
    13. Craving – Is there anything or anyone you crave so much that it clouds your judgment or vision?
    14. Desire only begets more desire. Desirelessness is nirvanic peace
    15. Perform random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty
    16. Must try to give what others truly need and not what easiest for us to give
    17. Meditations on Right Action (pg 228)
  43. Right Livelihood
    1. Work is love made visible
    2. Real work involves putting one’s beliefs into actions
    3. Right livelihood helps us make a life and not just a living
    4. Always do the right thing but don’t expect notice or praise
    5. Simplicity, streamlining, downsizing, lives/things key to happy life
    6. The value of anything is always the value we vest in it
    7. Happiness Quotient – balance between what we have and what we want
      1. Contentment is true wealth, wealthy is he who enjoys what he has
      2. Right livelihood is work that develops us as we develop it
    8. True vocation is knowing self and being self
    9. Meditation includes right effort, mindfulness and concentration which leads to mental discipline
    10. Awareness is the common denominator of all sentient beings. meditation is the most direct and effective way to cultivate that innate awareness; it is the essential ingredient on the path to awakening the Buddha within. We meditate in order to purify and discipline our minds
    11. Thought/intellect good servants, great tools but poor masters
      1. A disciplined mind brings happiness
    12. 4 things conducive to happiness – to be skilled, efficient, energetic, earnest and learned in whatever profession one has; to conscientiously protect one’s income and family’s means of support; to have virtuous, trustworthy and faithful friends and spiritual aspirations; to be content and to live within one’s means
    13. The whole thrust of mind-training is to be able to become naturally more loving and compassionate without expecting or hoping for anything in return
  44. Right Effort
    1. The 4 Great Efforts
      1. The effort to avoid any new unwholesome, negative thoughts or actions
      2. The effort to overcome any existing unwholesome thoughts or actions
      3. The effort to develop only good and wholesome thoughts and lead an enlightened life (generosity, virtue, patience, effort, meditation, wisdom)
      4. The effort to maintain the goodness that already exists
    2. The sole incentive to continue meditation is the confidence and inner conviction that develops though one’s own authentic experience. Meditation is not merely a program of mental gymnastics. In the art of meditation, simplicity is the key: the simple necessity of unburdening oneself of all excess baggage, and turning the searchlight inward. For everything is available within our own intangible spiritual core
    3. Trained, dynamic inner life required for effective external existence
    4. Balance between effort and effortlessness is the essence of impeccable effort and self mastery
    5. Renunciation of compulsive preoccupations and intense emotional attachments is vital
      1. “If we get even the smallest glimpse of liberation and what it means to experience freedom from want, we see where our happiness truly lies. This is the arising of inner certainty. When that occurs, we begin to renounce and give up the unfulfilling thoughts and behaviors that create negative karma. The heart of renunciation implies allowing rather than controlling.”
    6. You truly do get back far more than you give
    7. 4 Divine abodes – loving kindness and friendliness (metta); compassion and empathy, joy and rejoicing, equanimity and peace of mind
  45. Right Mindfulness
    1. Mastery of mind comes from constant awareness of thoughts and actions
    2. Simple, conscious presence of the now
    3. Every moment a miracle and when you realize that, all life becomes a meditation
    4. Knowing things as they are, as they function is enlightened wakefulness
    5. Prefer quick mediations 25x per day over 1 long session
    6. As we practice meditation, we peel away layers of our persona
    7. Train self by embracing and breathing in things you fear – simply be present, fully there, without judgment or prejudice, with whatever occurs; see difficult circumstances or happenings as learning experiences; enjoy the spectacle and watch the show as if you’re an outside observer, above the system
    8. Must prepare for death bardo – remembering the inevitability of our own mortality and impermanence of all things can be the most liberating of meditations
    9. Contemplating mortality helps us focus and prioritize – the tenuousness of life helps us to be totally awake in the present moment
    10. Dream yoga can have many great real world benefits –
    11. Pure mindfulness is relaxed, open, lucid moment to moment, present awareness. It is like a bright mirror: nonclinging, nongrasping, nonaversive, nonreactive, undistorting. It is a skill which can be learned like any other
    12. Through meditation we can enter directly into more intimate, immediate engagement with our experiences in a way that reflects simplicity and a deeper, more authentic connection to life. This is not just about being more consciously alive. It’s about being itself
    13. 4 Foundations of mediation – being aware of our bodies, aware of our feelings and emotions, aware of our thoughts and aware of events as they occur, moment by moment
    14. Paying attention and the ability to really be present pays off in so many ways, giving us enhanced satisfaction, broader vision, greater mastery and effectiveness in everything we do
    15. Meditation gives you so much mental clarity and spaciousness that it actually adds time to the day. We become more effective, more relaxed as we can more effectively deal with our feelings and develop our emotional intelligence. Meditation allows us to be more in touch with our feelings without being driven or controlled by them
    16. A mirror doesn’t pick and choose what it reflects. In this way, our natural state of mind is complete lucid awareness, being able to see things as they are, with total clarity
  46. Right Concentration
    1. Right concentration implies a unification of spiritual intentionality, focus, mental discipline, energy and attention. In right concentration, we skillfully collect and harness all of our energy so that every part of our being is integrated and focused, working together toward our goal of enlightenment. Once you have arrived at this point, concentration in this sense is not forced, restricted, or fixated but instead rests naturally where it is placed
    2. 5 T’s of Concentration – taming, training, testing, transforming, transcendence
    3. Concentration training – breath counting, awareness of breath (without counting), walking meditation, walking-breathing-synchronization meditation, standing and walking backward meditation, chewing meditation
    4. A good meditation session simply a microcosm of a well lived life (fractal!)
    5. Investigation/inquiry central to enlightenment
    6. Metaphysical fitness as important as physical fitness
    7. Concentration helps us love and be grateful for every moment without changing anything
    8. Rushen – analytical contemplations that employ the rational powers of the mind, use the well-honed, focused mind like a sharp tool to penetrate further into reality. This special self-inquiry helps us recognize the essential nature of mind. Helps us to discern the difference between what we seem to be and think ourselves to be, and our original nature, what we really are. Who or what is experiencing my present experience? Where is the experiencer, the perceiver? What is the essence or nature of this mind? Does it have a shape or form? A color? A size or weight? Who is experiencing your experience right now? And then let go of thinking. See what comes up. Sense directly
    9. Five different meditations – surround self or imagine water, fire, earth, air and space
    10. Candle meditation – pg 368
    11. Buddha light meditation – pg 369
    12. Why compare?
  47. Great reading list provided on pg 397
What I got out of it
  1. Thought this was a very actionable, interesting and profound book which helps show the benefits of mindfulness and meditation training for all aspects of your life. Highly recommend

Living a Life of Awareness by Don Miguel Ruiz, Jr.

Summary

  1. Miguel Ruiz Jr follows in his fathers footsteps with the Toltec way of life and explains that total and unconditional self love and other love, complete acceptance and awareness lead to a happy life as it helps us realize we are simply perfect just the way we are
Key Takeaways
  1. Unconditional love for others and oneself, awareness of illusions and delusions, completely accepting oneself and not creating false illusions of ourselves that we can’t live up to
  2. The only truth is this very moment
  3. We free ourselves of illusions through awareness and acceptance
  4. We are much larger than any of our beliefs, ideas, illusions. We therefore need not fight or impose our wills on anything or anyone
  5. We are absolutely perfect just the way we are. Be very aware of when you get emotional, defensive, judgmental as this is a good sign you are attached to something which you can let go
  6. Only do things because you want to, not because you feel like you should or have to
  7. Toltec means artist – be the artist of your life and live your dream
  8. Make your narrator your ally instead of a parasite – operating from unconditional vs conditional love
  9. Who we are is beyond any words. We can describe roles, feelings and emotions but never who we truly are
  10. Practicing, improving and integrating throughout the day the skill of listening to your inner silence is key
  11. Must have unconditional love for self before can give unconditional love to others
What I got out of it
  1. Beautiful and all important for a happy life. Echoes The Four Agreements and gives daily meditations on how to keep these topics top of mind. Physical book worth getting for daily dosage of awareness

Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh

Summary
  1. Beautifully written book which strongly advocates for mindfulness in everything we do – from washing our hands to how we interact with others. Thich Nhat Hanh uses beautiful examples from both Jesus’ and Buddha’s lives to reinforce his points.
Key Takeaways
  1. Reality is free from all notions and it is our duty to transcend words and concepts and be able to encounter reality
    1. “When our beliefs are based on our own direct experience of reality and not on notions offered by others, no one can remove these beliefs from us.”
    2. “Things cannot be described by concepts and words. They can only be encountered by direct experience.”
  2. Avoid attachment to present views
  3. Meditation – stopping, calming, looking deeply
  4. Dialogue and deep listening is vital – must first have peace within before can reach deeper levels or help others
  5. Buddhists aim to be mindful in every moment. Conscious breathing helps with this practice (mindful walking, eating, cleaning, reading, breathing, etc.)
  6. Most precious gifts we can offer others is our presence
  7. Our true home is in the present moment
  8. Being fully aware and present gives you a sense of gratitude
  9. Aim to be like Buddha and Christ where your life becomes your teaching, your sermon in action
  10. Living dharma – mindfulness manifested in daily life
  11. Can’t have true love without understanding and can’t understand without true love
  12. Must begin with self – aim to live as Buddha and Jesus lived
  13. Anger is hell
  14. Our enemy is not the other person, no matter what they have done
  15. Make your life prayer in action
  16. Can come to love our enemy only by understanding him
  17. Whatever happens to the body, happens to the mind and vice versa
  18. People today tend to lack the art of deep/mindful speaking and listening though we have more means of communication than ever before
  19. Mindful breathing – ability to be aware of and manage emotions. Being able to accurately and deeply know what we are sensing allows us to deal with it early and in a positive way before it manifests as anger, frustration, etc. “If we can learn ways to touch the peace, joy and happiness that are already there, we will become healthy and strong, and a resource for others.”
  20. Only compassion and understanding on a collective level can liberate us
  21. Practice the essence over the form
  22. Don’t allow notions or concepts be obstacles to development or realizing ultimate reality
  23. A life that is too comfortable makes spiritual growth more difficult
  24. One day of mindfulness per week is essential. Set aside any day to spend with loved ones, turn away from work/email/distractions and just be
  25. Best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment
  26. The concept of interbeing (non-self) is fascinating – everything is connected and made of elements from everything else – “a flower is made of all non-flower elements.”
    1. “To take good care of yourself and to take good care of living beings and the environment is the best way to love God. This love is possible when there is the understanding that you are not separate from other beings or the environment. This understanding cannot be merely intellectual. It must be experiential, the insight gained by deep touching and deep looking in a daily life or prayer, contemplation and meditation.”
  27. The Five Wonderful Precepts of Buddhism – reverence for life, generosity, responsible sexual behavior, speaking and listening deeply and ingesting only wholesome substances
  28. The Fourth Precept – not telling the truth, exaggerating, forked tongue (saying two different things to different people/parties), filthy language
  29. Be an island unto yourself – being able to find refuge wherever you are just by turning inwards is one of the most powerful tools one can possess
  30. “God made humans so that humans can become God.”
  31. “The ultimate dimension is a state of coolness, peace and joy. It is not a state to be attained after you “die.” You can touch the ultimate dimension right now by breathing, walking and drinking your tea in mindfulness.”
  32. “When we touch one thing with deep awareness, we touch everything.”
What I got out of it
  1. Mindfulness in all that we do and interbeing (everything is interconnected and impermanent which leads to the conclusion that we are all one) are two amazing concepts which should be central to one’s daily routine, life, meditation practice

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach

Summary
  1. Only by being aware of and consciously accepting your negative thoughts and feelings, will you ever be able to work through them and grow. Tara Brach shares many personal stories, guided meditations, actionable steps, etc. to help you work through any feelings of unworthiness.
Key Takeaways
  1. Radical acceptance – recognize what is true and embrace it with an open heart. The willingness and courage to experience ourselves and our life as is. It is a state of unlimited freedom
  2. Much human suffering comes from mistakenly identifying ourselves and our experiences as something separate from the rest of the world
  3. Recognize what you resist and reject – body, looks, intelligence, etc. As these traits are made conscious and accepted, they lose power over us
  4. By radically accepting, you are mindful of everything going on, every thought and not trying to pull away. It means fully feeling both joyful and painful emotions without holding back any part of it
  5. Acceptance is not resigning ourselves for better or for worse. When you completely accept yourself, you can begin making big, lasting changes
  6. Do not deny nor suppress desires. Recognize it and why you are feeling that way
  7. Take several mini pauses every day to check on your breathe and mindset. Take longer pauses (retreats, etc) throughout the year. Helps you open up completely to the experience of the moment, become conscious of it and accept it
  8. The worst part of pain is the anticipation of it
  9. Buddha’s teaching that desiring causes suffering comes from clinging to things or experiences that naturally are transient, it is not the desires themselves which inherently cause suffering
  10. Suffering comes from resisting and fighting your temptations, not the actual temptations
  11. Be very mindful that the stories you create, around fear or anything else, are just that, stories. They are not fact and can very well be completely off
  12. Attention is the most basic form of love
  13. Try not to classify others (depressed, alcoholic, etc) as this makes us blind to the actual person
  14. When we are open, honest and authentic, we open the door for others to do the same
What I got out of it
  1. The practices and steps outlined in this book will help you come to terms with any feelings of unworthiness slowly accept and get over them. A bit repetitive in her examples but I’m sure she discusses any problem situations that you have come across. Don’t resist your pain or disappointments, become aware of them, how they make you feel and accept them. Only then will you be able to get over it

Read Radical Acceptance

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