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Posts Tagged ‘Happiness’

From the Archives- The Application of Shakespeare’s “To Be or Not to Be”

October 7, 2013 2 comments

In Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy from the play “Hamlet”, the main character, Hamlet, is racked with despair, and is questioning whether or not the unknown world beyond death will be easier to bear than the current life. Hamlet is in such despair that he is contemplating whether or not he should continue to “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, or if he should “take arms against a sea of troubles”, by possibly committing suicide. However, Hamlet is unsure of whether or not he should act on his wish to end the pain he is suffering, because he is unsure what will await him in the afterlife in that “undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns”.

While every sentient being suffers in one form or another, it appears to be a uniquely human characteristic to wish, or at least look forward to death. Many people turn to the concept of the afterlife presented in their religion to such an extent that they cease to truly live in this current stage of life. For example, some Christians look so forward to the day when Jesus Christ will appear in his prophesized second coming, that they are constantly trying to interpret every disaster as some sign of the upcoming Rapture and Armageddon. Other people are so disheartened with the world around them that they buy into the newest doomsday prophesy that the world is soon to be destroyed. Read more…

The Little Rituals of Life that Bond and Nourish

September 23, 2013 4 comments

Baby John's 1st Football Saturday!

Baby John’s 1st Football Saturday!

In the hustle and bustle of life, I have often found that the little rituals of life that I have setup not only help ground me, but also help to nourish various parts of my life, by maintaining important bonds with my friends and family. For example:

1) Every morning, when I get to the office, I always have my first cup of coffee in silence, before I even turn my computer on. This lets me relax, and focus on the tasks at hand, as well ground myself.

2) On days when I can, I always try to set aside 10 to 20 minutes during lunch for meditation or contemplation.

3) Every Tuesday or Thursday, my in-laws host a big family dinner. While this may seem horrible to many people, I am blessed to have great in-laws, and it is always a great time to catch-up and just spend time together.

4) Every Friday I try to have a big lunch with friends. This gives us a chance to catch-up, and stay connected. Some Friday’s we may have four people, and some Friday’s it may be standing room only, but no matter what it is a great time!

5) Every Saturday morning my son and I go to the doughnut shop together. While not the healthiest ritual, it gives us a chance for “guy time” as my four year old calls it. We talk about the previous week of school, and our big plans for the weekend.

6) I am extremely lucky that I married someone who likes college football almost as much as I do. So when football season comes around we will try to get all of our chores done by 11:00 am, so that we can watch the first kick-off, and generally we will stay up until the last game is over.

While these little rituals may seem trivial, they have become very important to my life, and they each serve a unique purpose. I often hear people say that they don’t have time to take care of themselves, to meditate, to spend time with friends, or to spend time with their families. I have found that I have to make time for myself, my friends, and my family. I have a very hectic work schedule, and with an almost two hour round-trip commute, I have to make a habit out of the little rituals that help fulfill and nourish the various areas of my life.

“I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.” – Warren Buffett

As always, thanks for reading, and please share what little rituals you have carved out of your time for grounding, bonding, or nourishment.

Also, please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click the Book Cover to view on Amazon.com)

Zen Moments


This is my twenty-sixth (and final!) post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I have tried to post a point of reflection or insight that I used to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I attempted to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lent itself to interesting insights and growth, because I not only had several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but I also had several days to put any lessons and insights that I discovered to work in my every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I tried to write updates as the weekly topics came up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

My son Jason and I enjoying an OKC Thunder game!

My son Jason and I enjoying an OKC Thunder game!

Z= Zen Moments: Zen moments are moments, often unexpected, of mental and/or spiritual clarity and insight. Zen moments are the times in our life where clarity and insight breaks through the mental and spiritual clouds that can build up during every day life. These moments can happen at any time, but some of my most profound insights and experiences have occurred somewhat out of the blue after I have been ruminating on a seemingly endless topic for quite some time, or when I just take a random moment out of my day to relax, meditate, or reflect.

I have also experienced several of these moments out of the blue with my wife or son, where their laughter, a smile, or a simple hug blissfully places me smack-dab in the here and now, where I cannot help but relish in the beautiful simplicity of the moment. During these moments, the mental clutter and buzz of normal life fades away, and living in the now, is truly blissful.

Some may see moments such as these as a distraction, or even a possible anchor for attachment; because after all, bliss-hunting or bliss-seeking can easily lead one to fall into a never-ending trap of attachment, seeking, depression, and even addiction. However, these moments of clarity, insight, and general bliss, really help to keep me going on my spiritual path. Life isn’t about asceticism, where the one who gives up the most wins the most, the Buddha tried that method and failed miserably. Life should be embraced and enjoyed. Life should be blissful, peaceful, and serene. Read more…

Virtuous Living

December 17, 2012 2 comments

This is my twenty-second post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

Used with permission from Flickr Creative Commons, and Photopin.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36821100@N04/3896331106/(c) Aristocrats-hats 2009

Used with permission from Flickr Creative Commons, and Photopin.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36821100@N04/3896331106/
(c) Aristocrats-hats 2009

V= Virtuous Living:  Living a virtuous life, a life of high moral and ethical standards, seems to be a rarity in today’s fast paced, and often disconnected world. More often than not, we tend to commend people on their conquests, rather than on their morals and ethics. In many ways virtue goes against the flow of modern life, because it requires one to focus on the means, rather than just on the ends. Virtue requires one to take into account the feelings and needs of others, rather than focus solely on one’s own desires. Virtue also requires one to keep their word, and live in a manner that garners and deserves the trust of others.

Virtue is an essential element for anyone on the spiritual path,  because virtue embodies the concepts of unconditional love and charity that all religions teach. Virtue is also essential for anyone wanting to live a happy and fulfilled life, because one who lives a virtuous life will enjoy less internal conflict, and garner closer and more meaningful relationships with family members, friends, co-workers, and even strangers.

In order to practice virtue, you must first learn to control your mind, because the mind is the root of all thoughts and actions. You must learn to control your mind in a manner that will garner positive thoughts, and empathy towards others. While it would be nice to simply say that you only need to suppress unvirtuous thoughts, it can be more complicated than that. In order to cultivate virtue, you must undertake a good bit of introspection, and when unvirtuous thoughts come to the surface, you must be able to discover and deal with the root cause of those thoughts. At times it is also helpful to simply reflect on a situation before acting, so that you can undertake the most virtuous action possible.

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.” -The Buddha Read more…

Living in the Now

August 13, 2012 18 comments

This is my twelfth post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

My son enjoying a ride at the Oklahoma State Fair

L= Living in the Now: I was debating on whether or not to write a specific post on living in the now, because in a way it seemed like a cop-out, given that “Living in the Now”, is the name of this blog. However, it is a topic/subject that has become an integral part of my spiritual path, which is the reason that I chose to name by blog Living in the Now, so I guess it is about time that I wrote a specific post on the subject! 😀

As some of you may have already read in the About the Author section, my life used to always revolve around the next goal, or the next step in my life. I always thought that at the next stage in my life, or after the completion of my next goal, I would be truly happy. If only I could ace the next test or class, get married, get into law school, graduate from law school, find a good job, have a child, etc., I would surely be happy. However, each stage or step in my “master plan”, only brought temporary or momentary happiness, so I would once again firmly set my sights on the next goal or stage. Many people view this type of attitude as being a positive aspect of a “driven” or competitive person, and without a doubt if I wasn’t a naturally driven (stubborn) and fiercely competitive person, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. It would have been extremely easy for me to have become discouraged or given up during my undergraduate studies when I would work the night shift at a 7-eleven, go straight to my classes (1/2 asleep, headache, feeling nauseated), come home and study for 3-4 hours, sleep for 5-6 hours, and do it all over again. So perhaps having an ultimate goal and dream in mind helped me keep my nose to the proverbial grindstone, and push through. However, no matter how many scholastic and work related awards and accolades I achieved, even after getting into law school and landing a scholarship, I wasn’t happy, I was mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted, and I wasn’t always a pleasure to be around, as my wife can attest to.

I think the turnaround for me came after I ran into an old high school friend, who commented on how much I had achieved, and how happy I must be. I remember warmly smiling, and feeling a bit smug that i had in fact accomplished pretty much every goal that I had set for myself all the way back in middle school; however, I distinctly remember feeling an empty hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sure, I had accomplished a lot of goals, and received numerous recognitions for my achievements, but I felt empty, I wasn’t happy, and I knew it, and there was no hiding from that fact. For the first time, I realized that I was desperately seeking the “something”, that Baruti mentioned in his guest piece last week, “Knowledge and Experience of Self“, but that I had been searching for it in all the wrong places. Read more…

Discovering the Divinity Within


This is my fourth post in a series, where each Monday I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during every day life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

My silly son wearing a stocking cap and gloves in June!

D= Divinity Within:I can vividly remember the day that I came to the realization that each of us possess a divine piece, a divine spark, from God. The realization came to me rather unexpectedly after I had finished a meditation session and my dog came and simply laid her head in my lap. I remember thinking how it was really odd how comfortably humans and animals can coexist with each other. Then it hit me, that in reality every living being was created by God; therefore, on a fundamental level, every living thing is interrelated. In hindsight this really doesn’t seem like such a stretch because almost every religion teaches that some sort of creator created every living being by giving some sort of breath of life. Even those that are more agnostic teach that all of creation is interrelated; and therefore, no harm should be done to another living/sentient being.

Every man is a divinity in disguise, a god playing the fool.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson Read more…

Compassionate Character Development


This is my third post in a series, where each Monday I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during every day life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

Used with permission from: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

C= Compassion: Compassion is best defined as empathetic action, where one takes steps to understand the cause of another’s suffering, and then undertake action to ease the suffering, and hopefully prevent whatever problem or issue caused the suffering from occurring again in the future. Every religion, from Jesus’ Beatitudes and teachings on charity, to Islam’s Zakāt pillar of faith, to Buddhism’s Eightfold Path, teaches that developing a compassionate character is essential for anyone wishing to live a happy and fulfilled life. The reason that every religion promotes compassion, is because it is an essential ingredient for not only your own happiness, but the happiness of others.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” -H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama

Compassion naturally develops internal and external happiness, because compassion allows you to reflect your positive values and wisdom out into the world at large in order to make the world a better place. On an internal level, compassionately helping others naturally makes us feel good and raises our level of awareness. On an external level, compassion should be used to help alleviate the suffering of all sentient beings, which naturally makes those around us and the world at large happier. Also, as those around you become happier through your compassionate acts, they will naturally reflect your acts of kindness back to you, in the same way that ripples in a pond eventually return to their source.

Read more…

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