Posts Tagged ‘Peace’

Parenting with Mindfulness

August 28, 2013 10 comments

My sweet boys

My sweet boys

A few weeks ago I was up all night with my newborn John. I had an extremely busy day planned, and no matter what i tried, he refused to go to sleep. As the hours ticked away, I could feel myself grow increasingly frustrated. I really wasn’t in the mood for this, I really didn’t have time for this, I really needed sleep so that I could go to work and be productive… Then it hit me. This will pass, and very quickly. Too quickly…

Obviously John wasn’t feeling well, and he was depending on me for comfort and care. While we were apparently getting our signals mixed, he still needed me, and I needed to let go of being frustrated. While I don’t relish sleepless nights with newborns, it seems like just yesterday I was on the alternating night shift routine with my wife, so that we could watch and take care of our oldest son Jase… and Jase started school two weeks ago.

I remember with Jase I couldn’t wait for his next stage of development. I couldn’t wait until he slept all night, I couldn’t wait until he ate solid food, could crawl, walk, be potty-trained, etc. Looking back, most of my anticipation seemed to be driven by more than a dash of selfishness. Once he slept all night, so could I. When he could crawl and then walk, I wouldn’t have to carry him everywhere. Eating solid foods meant I wouldn’t have to constantly prepare and clean bottles. Once potty-trained, I no longer had to check and change diapers every few hours. To say that children grow up too quickly may seem like a cliche, but just looking back over the past 4-1/2 years of Jase’s life, I can tell that it is true.

It is easy to practice mindfulness (the practice of being fully present in each moment), during slow times, meditation, or while conducting a relaxing activity; however, I think that mindfulness is especially important when interacting with our children, no matter how young or old. By being fully present in the moment, we are fully present in life. By being fully present as a parent, we are fully present in our children’s life, which is the most important thing we can do, because only then can we fully interact with our children the way that parents should. Parenting can be tiring and frustrating, but it really is the most important job we have, because our children are mirrors that reflect the lessons and general environment that we provide for them. Our parenting also has a definite impact on the type of adults that our children will grow to be. Will they be impatient, and quick to anger, or will the be kind and understanding? Read more…

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…

Lessons from my Taoist Masters

February 13, 2012 15 comments

Suzie (black) and Willie (Yellow)

I live with two Taoist masters, yes two, they are my two dogs, Willie and Suzie. Now then, before you click away thinking I have lost my mind, let me explain. 🙂

One of Taoism’s central goals is to live in harmony with the natural flow of the universe (known as the Tao, hence where the religion gets its name). One of the central concepts ofthe fluid and harmonious philosophy of Taoism is reflected in the essential Taoist concept of Wu Wei (action without action). Wu Wei is best described as effortless action, or acting without acting. While this may seem paradoxical, it simply means acting in accordance with the natural flow of the universe. For example: a stream flows without having to consciously act to flow, heavenly bodies revolve and orbit throughout the universe without any conscious action on their part, even plants and animals grow without having to consciously undertake actions to grow. Therefore, the key to Wu Wei is to simply act in accordance with nature; in other words, act when it’s appropriate, and refrain from acting when it’s inappropriate, basically learn to go with the flow of life. Read more…

Suffering is Caused by Ignorance

October 6, 2011 11 comments

As many of my readers already know, I was blessed to be able to attend the Kalachakra Initiation, in Washington D.C., this past July. During one of the preliminary teachings that preceded the Kalachakra Initiation, H.H. The Dalai Lama, mentioned something that struck me at a very deep level, and has continued to resonate with me, “suffering is caused by ignorance”. While the concept of suffering is central to Buddhist thought (because the teachings are aimed at ending suffering), most of the teachings I had previously heard or read, stated that suffering was simply caused by various forms of attachment, so this teaching on suffering was new to me.

For my non-Buddhist readers, I should probably explain the concept of suffering in Buddhist philosophy. When most of us think of “suffering” we think of some sort of physical or emotional anguish. While this is truly a form of suffering, the Buddhist concept of suffering can be much more subtle. In Buddhist philosophy “suffering” includes regrets, desires, worries, depression, anger, and any other form of unhappiness (no matter how subtle), that is preventing you from living a happy and fulfilled life, and ultimately reaching a state of enlightenment. According to the Buddha, all forms of suffering are caused by attachment, because you can probably trace all of your suffering to some form of attachment to various emotions/mental patterns, desires/regrets, life experiences, the material world, or life in general. Therefore, the traditional teaching that attachment (in whatever form) is the root cause of suffering is true; however, the statement that suffering is caused by ignorance, took those teachings deeper for me and put them into a new context. Read more…

7 Common Questions Regarding Meditation

September 9, 2011 5 comments

I am writing this article as a follow-up to a guest post that I wrote for The Art of Manliness Website, “A Primer on Meditation“. I feel that the article was well received, and almost all of the comments have been positive, except for the inevitable internet trolls. While perusing the comments sections, there were several questions that seem to be common amongst those unfamiliar with the practice, those just beginning the practice, or those simply in a rut. Since many of the questions presented by the readers often come up in any discussion on meditation, I will attempt address some of them, as well as other common questions. As always, I disclaim any expertise, I am merely a seeker and a practitioner.

1) Is Meditation “Evil” or Does it Conflict With My Religion?

Well no, unless you feel that any sort of self-improvement or self-introspection is evil, or conflicts with your religion. All religions teach the need for some sort of spiritual development, meditation provides fantastic ways of accomplishing the inner work that is vital to spiritual and personal development.

At its core, meditation involves delving within yourself to discover who “you” really are. There are many different ways of doing this, and some of the most common types are discussed in my article on The Art of Manliness. While some forms of meditation involve repeating a mantra of some kind, you can easily use a verse/poem/saying of your choice to recite; therefore, a mantra/affirmation is adaptable to any religious, spiritual, or philosophical viewpoint. Also, there are numerous meditation techniques which require no mantra/affirmation at all. Read more…

Be a Good Ancestor Today

My Son and I reading on my Nook Color

Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors

– Jonas Salk (Developer of the first Polio Vaccine)

Recently I have ran across several blogs, topics, books, podcasts, etc., promoting the message, “Be a Good Ancestor Today”. While it appears that the message originates from the above quote by Dr. Salk, the message has recently been popularized by the World Wildlife Fund, Dr. Judith Rich, Samantha Power, as well as various other authors and academics.

The central message of this theme/movement is that we must undertake actions that will ensure that future generations, our kids, grand-kids, etc., enjoy a healthy society and environment. While this might seem opposed to a “living in the now” mentality, it is not. While a living in the now mentality involves enjoying and fully experiencing each moment of life to the fullest (Zen Buddhism has excellent teachings on this), it certainly does not mean that we should undertake actions which are selfish, or harmful to others. To the contrary, we each have a duty to make sure that others are not harmed by our actions. We should always seek to help, but take care to never harm or negatively influence others. Future generations should look back on our life, and find it worthy of emulation. Read more…

Rolling With the Punches of Life

August 3, 2011 1 comment

It is inevitable that life will throw us curve-balls. Sometimes living in the now is painful because the present moment is not pleasant. However, it is important to not let the curve-balls of life bring us down more than necessary, we must learn to roll with the punches of life. Read more…

Kalachakra Initiation For World Peace

Recently I was privileged to attend the Kalachakra Initiation for World Peace with H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama in Washington, D.C. The event included five (5) days of teachings from His Holiness, and three (3) days of initiation and empowerment. I personally found the five days of teachings to be some of the most profound and enlightening days of my life. Read more…

Disregarding End of the World, and Conspiracy Theory Myths

Recently the world was abuzz because of a theory from Harold Camping, the millionaire owner of the Christian Family Radio Network, that the rapture of Christians would occur on May 21, 2011. Although Harold Camping made a similar prediction in 1994, which obviously was incorrect, thousands of people sold, or donated, everything they owned to spread this message, and wait for the end of the world to occur. Obviously the sunrise on May 22, 2011, was a devastating shock to many of those people who had so completely bought into Mr. Camping’s false message.

Beyond Mr. Camping’s debunked theories, there is a constantly changing array of doomsday scenarios, whether it be the past Y2K predictions, or the current Niburu, Planet X, Nemisis, and 2012 predictions. Also, there are a never ending string of conspiracy theories involving the Illuminati, Freemasons, Bilderburg group, Bohemian Grove, etc. and their supposed desire to control the world. When these doomsday scenarios fail to materialize, or the conspiracies are proven false, new dates are set, or entirely new theories are created to take the former theory’s place.

The real questions in all of this is why would someone buy so fully into these fringe predictions, which are solely supported by shaky math, questionable biblical and ancient document interpretations, supposed psychic messages, or even a total lack of evidence (after all if you can’t prove it doesn’t exist, then it must exist)? Read more…

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