Is there a shortcut to happiness?

For many years I confused happiness with having a good time. I had no idea that happiness and having a good time were completely different things. During many years of my life having a good time meant chemically altering myself, with alcohol or another psychotropic substance. Then and only then did I believe that I was happy. I simply couldn’t imagine a good time (“being happy”) without taking something. I felt that, unless something was “intense”, then it was boring. I was stuck, looking for happiness outside of myself, which is why, at that time, my idea of happiness was anything that distracted me from myself. Chemical shortcuts seemed an…

Your children are not your children

This morning at breakfast with the brave people attending our Resilience Training retreat, the subject of children came up which reminded me of the wise words of Kahlil Gibran: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You…

Connected or separate?

After my recent short post, “I am everything and everything is part of me,” I received many questions  - most requesting clarification. The human spirit yearns for a sense of connection, a sense of meaning and fulfilment. Evolution works against this. From an evolutionary perspective you are a gene transmission machine, the same as any living thing - a plant, a fish, a bacterium, a worm. All of our adaptations are to support this blind process; to survive, in order to reproduce, in order to pass on the genes you carry. The way in which we perceive reality is part of this. We perceive reality not as it is but…

I am part of everything and everything is part of me

Evolution has shaped and twisted your perception to increase the chances of survival of your genes. This creates the illusion of separation - the embodiment of which is the ego. The ego divides our perceptions into two categories: “me” and “not me”. However, your ego is simply the story you tell yourself in response to your treatment by people you never chose. Suffering arises when you cannot see this, when you continue to believe in the illusion of separation. When you are fully connected to the present, when the thoughts stop, the mind is silent and the ego disappears, the illusion of separation also disappears. Then you experience the truth…

Kindness is contagious

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.  Lou Tzu My religion is kindness: Kindness to strangers, kindness to friends, Kindness to family, kindness to myself. It wasn’t always that way. Kindness is contagious. Even the smallest apparently insignificant act of kindness has great power to change. I know this both as giver and receiver. Kindness is contagious.  Don’t wait for someone to be kind to you before being kind back. Be brave. Be the change. Be kind first. Kindness doesn’t look for something in return. Kindness doesn’t need recognition. Kindness it is not ego food. Kindness is its own reward. We need…

Really listen

Seek to understand before seeking to be understood. This means…  Listen, really listen. This means… your only desire is to understand. This means… not trying to give a solution. This means… not trying to think of an answer. This means… being fully present with all your senses dedicated to listening. This means… your posture is open, listening. This means… seeking clarification if you lose concentration or don’t understand. This means… with compassion – an open heart. This is an act of love.

There is always hope

My friend Clayton and I were the wild boys and proud of it. In our early 20’s we tried every drug we could get our hands on. We chased women. We drove fast cars. We lived intensely. I saved his life at least once and he saved mine. A thing we had in common was a level of emotional intelligence of less than zero. We didn’t feel things; we took drugs instead! I had no idea what an emotion was. In spite of all that, we each did well professionally… that is, we earned lots of money. Looking back now, I can see clearly that we were both desperately trying…

The cards you are dealt

In a game of poker, the cards we have in our hand are decided by chance in the deal; we don’t pick them. Even if our cards are not that good we can still win. Only an idiot would complain about his or her cards. Complaining will simply remove any chance of winning. Our lives are like a game of poker. You didn’t choose your parents, teachers, neighbours or family. Your task is to play the very best game you can with the cards life has given you. Only an idiot would complain. In this life it is not the cards you are dealt which counts, it is the way…

Friendship

We sit there, side by side on the sofa, eyes closed. In that moment nothing exists except the aria. Wordlessly we submit to the unbearable beauty of the soprano’s voice as it pierces simultaneously our hearts.. Emotions are not hidden; there is no shame in tears shed. Hearts are cracked open, the tender contents gladly shared. Another moment: sitting on the cliff top in quiet companionship. The growling waves crash thundering onto the rocks, felt in our bodies rather than heard in our ears. The sun warming our backs; the breeze - gentle, refreshing. The coarse slippery texture of the dune grass in my fingers. The vast peaceful clear blue…

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