So, how can we take care of ourselves? The never-ending list on how to be happy:
Here’s an even more imposing list:
Why does this all seem so hard?
Here is a more holistic approach to the art of happiness, which I highly recommend, and is very close (I think) to what Heidi was talking about in our discussion today:
Anne Gilchrist on Inner Wholeness, Our Greatest Obstacle to Happiness, and the Body as the Seedbed of a Flourishing Soul
We talked about a lot of things today, but mainly the idea of balancing in our meditation and our lives. Balancing our creativity, our personal relations, our thoughts, our anxieties and worries. I thought this was a great article, which, although not Buddhist, offers a lot of Buddhist-like tools to dealing with our anxieties, stress, and suffering:
Okay, the U.S. Senate is poised to acquit Trump, the Corona virus is causing mass hysteria, and Brexit has arrived. Are you worried? I am; I admit it. But not all the time, and I’m trying not to indulge my inclination to fret. And yet…we are all worriers, to a greater or lesser degree, and worrying probably comes up for you in various ways: especially when you aren’t distracting yourself with something else.
So what do we do about worry? Well, we can analyze what to worry about and sort of decide what’s worth worrying about or not:
How Not To Worry: Timeless 1934 Advice on Controlling Anxiety and Mastering Life
We can start to understand that we aren’t good at figuring out what is truly worth worrying about:
And of course, we can choose not to worry about what people think of us, because they’re not thinking about us anyway; they’re worrying about themselves…this is a clever video:
Finally, we can change what we choose to worry about. This can be fixed by changing our stories.
How To Stay Sane: The Art of Revising Your Inner Storytelling
And finally (I promise!) this story naturally came up during out discussion today. Sometimes, things just hit certain people harder than others. This is an interesting web site, with some useful self-tests!
The Highly Sensitive Person
Humans need to feel they belong, but a sense of belonging to the group can be restrictive to the point of us not knowing what to think or feel, even in our meditation. Check out these two articles:
How To Be a Nonconformist: 22 Irreverent Illustrated Steps to Counterculture Cred from 1968
This is a highly recommended article on one person’s experience with meditation over many years. Take a look:
I wanted to share these lovely paintings and a great poem by Mary Oliver. Nature really does have healing qualities. However, as the group pointed out today, nature also can be rather capricious!
The Spirit of the Woods: Poet and Painter Rebecca Hey’s Gorgeous 19th-Century Illustrations for the World’s First Encyclopedia of Trees
WHEN I AM AMONG THE TREES
by Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
I’m really fascinated by the limitations, and the amazing potential, of human consciousness. This is an interesting video on how humans often see continuity where there is none. We seem to be hardwired to disregard change! No wonder impermanence disturbs us. Maybe there’s nothing really “wrong” with our longing for permanence in a world of change.
(The earth shakes) by Steve Sanfield
The earth shakes
to remind us.
We talked about the creative and timeless qualities that arise when the sense of self (ego) diminishes, as during times of concentration or meditation. This article on the neurology of flow states is really fascinating reading:
Thanks to the group today, who shared their unique experiences with meditating. It was lovely. I went to see drag queens at a cabaret in Cincinnati last night and it was a transforming experience! So I wanted to talk about taking chances and living life.
And here’s a beautiful poem from Mary Oliver on just that. You can also listen to her read it:
Mary Oliver on the Measure of a Life Well Lived and How to Maximize Our Aliveness
When do we have enough, and what does that mean? Musings on the Christmas season, greed, and “pathological consumption.”
Kurt Vonnegut on the Secret of Happiness: An Homage to Joseph Heller’s Wisdom
The Gift of Death