The way people react in a moment of crisis is generally a good measure of their character. It is easy to be calm and efficient when there is no pressure on, but not so easy when the cauldron is bubbling. The really useful and successful people in life are those that can rise to the occasion and get the best out of themselves in those moments of pressure.
If you want to achieve great things in your life then you have to able to cope with pressure. Many people fail to get the best out of themselves simply because they run away when the going gets tough, rather than facing up to the demands and battling through them.
I can show you a simple visualization technique that you can use in stressful moments, which combines hypnotic and meditation techniques for a really powerful result. It is an enjoyable visualization technique that sets you up with a trigger word so that you can quickly relax in any given situation, by simply saying to yourself your word. Before you begin, make sure you won’t be disturbed for about half an hour, and get yourself comfortable. (more…)
I have never done writing for a living yet. My writing has always been mostly for study or passion.
Yet even though I haven’t been under the pressure of having my monthly income depending on the flow and quality of my writing as any paid writer would, my own experiences still brought to my conscious awareness two important and closely linked notions: Inspiration and its dreaded enemy writer’s block.
This concept notoriously gained an iconic status having been so widely referred to in the media and arts. We all have collective unconscious images from the movie classics of some writer at a desk in front of an old-style typewriter, an ashtray full of half-snuffed cigarette butts and a paper bin overflowing with balled up papers of unfinished sentences.
Conventionally, writer’s block is understood as that part in a writer’s career where her creative process comes to a halt and her inspiration runs dry due to some psychological blockage or emotional distress. Less dramatically, it is when we are doing a writing job and words and ideas stop coming to our heads. We stop for hours trying to get the thing started again sometimes with no success.
There are two main views on writer’s block. Both views see it as some block in the overall creative process but while one view sees creativity as predominantly or even exclusively a generative process the other sees it as a receptive process. (more…)
One of the biggest ongoing debates in the last two centuries is definitely the one between the conflicting views of faith and science.
For too long now it seems that these views are not only irreconcilable but mutually exclusive. In simplistic terms, faith is commonly associated with the belief in a divine power which is not grounded in the senses, experience or reason. Science, on the other hand, is associated with the objective inquiry into the nature of the universe through experimentation, critical assessment, logic and reason.
Mixed messages of faith:
I was brought up in an ultra-conservative Roman Catholic country with a very fine line of divide between church and state. As a young inquisitive mind growing up in that cultural background I had learned to despise all those authoritative arguments about faith, dogma, and the narrow worldview of catholic doctrine they used to teach us at school.
I remember arguing with the priest that use to teach us religion class (which was compulsory of course) about the irrationality and blindness of dogma and he’d always answer with the same old answer – “It’s a matter of faith”. I used to hate that answer. I thought it was such an excuse for an answer when you don’t have enough reasons to back your arguments.
This is what mostly creates the conflict between reason and faith. It’s the reluctance of some people to have faith understood and assessed with a more evaluative undertone. They say that’s impossible because reason and faith are incompatible. Faith is faith and that’s the end of it.
Faith has another side though – a much more positive one which I have come to understand under a different light. (more…)
As I was reading the article “A gentle honesty” on the blog ‘Beyond Karma’ the other day, the Zen saying “After Enlightenment, the Laundry” came to mind.
In the article, Kaushik, the author of the blog and the post in question, was asking how it is that sometimes after some experience of deep inner awareness that awakens us from our limited patterns of thinking, we return back to our same old selves?
To quote Kaushik’s own opening lines:
“A strange thing about awakening is frequently we feel we are very conscious, but then life throws something at us and we react in the same conditioned way we always did. It’s a humbling experience, and that’s the point of it.”
How is it that after some brief moment of enlightenment we relapse back to the same old habits and limited views?
This naturally leads to other questions such as “is enlightenment or spiritual awakening ephemeral”? Is it some short excursion beyond our boundaries just to give us a taste of what it’s like to be in a higher state of consciousness?
The notion of practicing compassion for other fellow humans has been with us since the beginning of time. After all, Man is a social creature in need of meaningful social connections in order to grow on all levels of his being.
The concept of compassion however has in recent times been appraised in value. Its importance is starting to be understood under the new light of a drastically changing world where people are getting more connected, economies collapse and new global crisis emerge. Compassion is becoming increasingly tied to the future of humanity. In order for Humanity to keep the balance against the impounding waves of change we need to grow collectively in mind, awareness and in consciousness. One essential ingredient for this growth is cultivating compassion and loving kindness
Compassion compels action and social change
“You know, there’s a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit — the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us — the child who’s hungry, the steelworker who’s been laid-off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town. When you think like this — when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers — it becomes harder not to act; harder not to help.” Barack Obama
I think one of the most fundamental questions we come to ask in our lives is “what is the purpose of my life?” which can be transcribed into “How meaningful is the life I am living at the moment?” This is a personalization of the more general and philosophical question “What is the meaning of life and everything?”
These questions often arise when we are going through major life transitions or y-points in our lives where crucial decisions and drastic changes have to be made. When we go through big changes our reality bends and shifts because we are breaking away from our old worldview and leaping into a new one. Big changes and moments of temporary crisis often bring with them deep questions about the meaning of life and our role and identity with the changing world around us.
It is not easy to answer such questions for the simple reasons that the answer to such questions lie exclusively within us and not outside of us. Things and situations in our lives have meaning because we attribute meaning to them. They do not have meaning by themselves but depend on our perspective, reality and system of beliefs. The same thing may have deep meaning for me but can be meaningless to you or it may have different meaning to one person at different times in her life depending on her experiences, motivations, beliefs and perspectives.
But how can we give more meaning to our lives? I’m sure we all asked ourselves this question at one point whether explicitly or otherwise.
Happiness and self-realization depend on how much our lives are enriched with meaning and purpose. A meaningless existence is certainly not a wholesome and happy one.
Unfolding the bigger picture
Very often meaning is equated with knowing our true purpose, our mission and goals in life. This is true at some level. By knowing and embracing our role in the big picture of life, we find a lot of what we experience as more meaningful.
Our purpose however is not always clear to us at all times because it is sometimes cluttered and hindered by negative emotions, misconceptions and wrong sorts of habits and beliefs.
Here are a few approaches that help us deepen and enrich our connections with ourselves and with others, align ourselves with our inner purpose and open our hearts for the joys of living a meaningful and happy life: (more…)
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” Aristotle
Every living being in this world seeks happiness whether s/he is aware of it or not. It is the meaning and purpose of lifeas Aristotle had noted.
“Isn’t it obvious?” I hear you say. Yet is it really that obvious I dare ask again?
If it were that obvious why aren’t billion of dollars being spent in researching the ‘Science of Happiness’? Why aren’t political systems based on the pursuit, achievement and safeguarding of Happiness? Why aren’t there too many religions that instead of attaching themselves to Dogma and authority reorient their beliefs on the basic Human need of Happiness? Why isn’t Happiness a shared point of reference between political, ideological and International transactions?
Something is not that obviously straight forward to me. (more…)
When these words of wisdom were told to me I was still a young man. The real depth behind their meaning was not apparent to me yet. Their wisdom was concealed by my unripe age. Not that they are cryptic or anything but rather because it’s one of those sayings which unfolds and reveals itself to you as your experiences in life grow and mature.
There are three fundamental notions that the saying points at:
3. Manifesting your destiny or Life’s Purpose
The lesson is simple as much it is abysmally deep: When you learn to discover your authentic self amongst socially constructed preconceptions, distorted self-images and learn to trust the natural pulse of your heart’s true desires then you will manifest them in your life. You will manifest your life’s purpose (more…)
I always wondered about the deep connection between humans and music. The origin of music is unknown or at least we only have a very vague idea as to how far its stretches back in time, mainly through the findings of rudimental bone-made musical instruments found in early cave dwellings.
It would also be interesting to know at which stage of the human evolutionary process the appreciation of music emerged. Although we know that other creatures such as higher mammals can respond positively to sounds and music, it is a distinctive mark in humans to really have an aesthetic affinity to it. This is mainly because of our higher and more complex cognitive makeup.
The brain being an intricate pattern-matching organ can recognize subtle sequences and variations in sound waves which are then consolidated and matched to a broader pattern or rhythm, eventually giving rise to that subjective feeling of aesthetic beauty, joy, elation or whatever emotion matches the musical style or our present mood. (more…)