SHARE

Friday, July 21, 2017

Mirror Mirror…

How do you see yourself?
When asked this question people will respond something along these lines:
Tall, short, fat slim, pretty, handsome, intelligent, smart, creative, funny, rich, poor, young, old etc.
None of these answers are correct. The only correct answer is:
“In the mirror” or more explicitly “The way other people see me”

Of course, you think that’s not true.
You KNOW who you are without anybody telling you who you are.
You know you are tall because you have measured your height and you know for a fact you are 6’ 9” feet tall. Right?
But here is the catch. The Empire State Building is 1454 feet high; you are not even close to that, you are a midget, an ant compared with that. Right?

So why do you think you are tall?
You think that because you are comparing and being compared with the rest of the population.
You see yourself as tall because the average height of men is 5’10” but if the average height would have been 7’10” then you would see yourself as short. See my point?
The other people, they are the true measurement of your height, not the measuring tape.

So besides being an interesting observation is the way we see ourselves important?
Yes! It is actually much more important than we think.
That image we have about ourselves is what determines who we are, who we’ll become and the quality of life we’ll experience.

The way we see ourselves determine our actions.
If you think you’re short you will limit your dating and mating options.
If you think you are not smart enough you will limit your career and business potential.
If you think you lack a certain talent you will limit your creativity.
How we see ourselves it is what makes or breaks us.

Here’s the catch. We don’t realize that our image is not our real image.
Our image is a reflection of what the society values are not of who you are.
That is a debilitating fact. That is what keeps us from becoming and accomplishing what we want.
You are not who you think or who other think you are.

If you are dating the girl of your dreams you are tall, handsome and confident. No matter what anybody says.
If you are running a successful business you are smart and business savvy. No matter what anybody thinks.
If you are allowing your talent to be expressed you are a creative artist. No matter what any critic says.

You have to stop living up to the society’s expectation and start living to your full potential.
Stop looking in the mirror for validation and to become instead the mirror by all values are measured.

You have to stop asking: “Mirror, mirror who am I?” and start saying “Watch me world this is who I really am!”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

7 Cheap ways to destress

1)      Break the mood.
Stress is a mood, a grove, a mental state in which we sometimes fall without realizing the subjective and impermanent nature of our experience.
Break the mood. Get crazy. Depending on the circumstances; Smile or laugh without any reason. Burst out in a happy tune and if you can fill it do a little dance as well.
If the circumstances do not allow for an exuberant outburst of energy use this instead. Go on YouTube and watch videos of kittens and puppies at play.
And whatever you do don’t watch the news.

2)      Talk to somebody about your problems.
We all know that talking about our problems with somebody that loves or cares about us is a great stress reliever, but did you know that actually, you can talk to anybody about it with similar results.
Use unconventional outlets like the people in HR at work, a priest or Rabi (it doesn’t matter if you are religious or not) or simply go to a privet place and talk it out loud to the walls or trees.

3)      Meditate.
Just cleaning out your mind of all thought process for a while is enormously beneficiary.
If you know how to meditate you are probably already using this but if you don’t try this little substitute;
Breath slowly while counting the in and out of your breath.

4)      Listen to sad music
It sounds counterintuitive; shouldn’t you listen to happy music? Yes and no. Sometimes happy music just irritates us even more so if you can get giddy with happy music OK but if you don’t try something like Mozart’s Requiem, Allegri’s Miserere Deus or simply good old fashion American blues.
This is especially useful since you can put on your ear buds in almost any place and situation.

5)      Reminisce about happy times.
Looking at old photos of vacations or happy events in our past can also break a gloomy mood.
If photos or videos are not readily accessible just think about it.
Remember how it felt and promise to yourself you will repeat the experience in the future.

6)      Take a walk
Taking a break and walking away from your problems even for a couple of minutes will help you relax and put things into a new perspective.
Nature is especially therapeutic in this case. Find a park, a beach, or a trail and take a walk.

7)      Take a bubble bath
This is a cheap way of relaxing that will guaranty to make you feel better.
You can enhance the experience by adding soft music candle lights and even a glass of wine.
Of course, a spa experience with a nice massage will be even better but we are talking about cheap ways of distressing. It is the same reason I didn’t include sex in my list. I don’t know if that qualifies as cheap…

Anyway, I hope you’ll find something in this list to help you out relaxing and also if you have any personal favorite ways to relax please feel free to drop me a comment.


Monday, July 17, 2017

The Scenarist

Q: Why do Hollywood marriages are perfect?
A: Because they are only two hours long.
Humor aside, why do we have so many happy endings in the movies?
It is because the screenwriter decides so.

Movies are written before they are produced.

It is not the director of the movie that creates the movie.
It is the scenarist who decides what, when and where things will happen.
It is the script writer that controls the action and the actors in the movie.

The movie director only controls the acting and how the script will be transposed in images.
That’s why when the script sucks even the best director can’t make it into a great movie.

What about real life?
Is there a scenario according to our life unfolds?
Some people believe so and they call it “destiny” some other don’t believe in it and they call it baloney.
But what if I told you your life is a movie?

I am not trying to convince you there is a “destiny” a script according to which your life unfolds.
What I am proposing is that in life there are actors, scenarists and directors just like in Hollywood.
The only difference is that they all work at the same time and there is only one movie that runs forever called “The Reality” although it would be more appropriate to call it “The Human Play”

Who are the actors in this movie?
Well, basically anybody alive. If you are breathing you have a role, a part to play in this this “reality.”
So then, who are the directors and scenarists?

The directors in this production are what we call “the leaders” and they can be as small as the head of a family or a McDonald manager and as big as the head of GM or Donald Trump.
Their role is to turn the various “scenarios” into reality.
But who write these scenarios who are the scenarists?

Well, the scenarist are people of vision, people not satisfied just to react at what happens  to and around them but decide instead to control their life and what happens around them.
They are also very varied from the young entrepreneur starting a business in his garage to the powerful think tank groups that are dissecting and analyzing our world.
They are usually much harder to point out and there are a lot of “conspiracy” theories surrounding them.

Have you ever heard of the groups of people that control our destiny, of “Illuminati” or any of the other “secret” societies?
Do really rich people try to control our society to “script” our “reality”?
Of course they do.

We all do.
Don’t you try to do your best for you, your family, your relatives and friends?
Of course you do. So why would rich people be any different? And why are you expecting them to behave any different?
The question is not are they doing it but how much “collusion” is there in their efforts?

The answer doesn’t matter. Even if you knew the truth there is nothing you can do about it.
What is important is to understand that your life is a “movie” and you are an actor.
Do you like the “role” you are playing?
Well. If you don’t is time for you to sit down and write yourself a better scenario.

That is the key point WRITE IT DOWN if it is not written down it’s just an empty dream pipe.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Food for your thoughts


One of the “culture shocks” I experienced coming to US was the fast food culture.
In the old country going out to eat was not a necessity, it was a luxury.
Eating out was an event reserved for special occasions.
People would go out on a date, birthday, mother’s day, a job promotion or other significant events.

A lunch or dinner in a restaurant was a unique experience.
The food was exquisite, the people were dressed elegantly and the time you spent there was special.
The whole idea of eating out, the whole setting, was centered and focused on quality.
It was a prize, a reward, something you did because you deserved better.

The idea of “fast food” was not only foreign but also absurd.
Why would anybody stuff their face with mediocre or junk food in as little time as possible?
Life is not a contest of who is doing things faster, but in enjoying the experience.
Then I come to US and I found the explanation: CONVENIENCE

But convenience is just an abused excuse. ‘
It is not all the time that we are in such hurry, that we are in such a time crunch that “fast food” will be a convenient choice.
It is more likely that people are too lazy to do the right thing and instead choosing the fast and cheap way out.

Of course after years and years of following this trend America has developed a new problem: OBESITY
And slowly but surely people have become more aware of the shortcomings of the fast food culture.
More and more people are going back to the old ways of preparing and eating the food.
More and more people are choosing health and a good experience over convenience.

But I really don’t want to talk about food in this post.
The fast food craze it is just a point of reference an analogy to what I really want to talk about.
Let’s talk about your brain “food”. The information, the news, and the knowledge you are ingesting.

I lived through the personal computer revolution and the rise of the internet.
What I am seeing is practically the same trend and trajectory the fast food industry had in the past.
The McDonalisation of information. The replacement of quality content with junk thought.

The wonderful experiences of my youth, the marvelous hours I spent in a museum, a theater or simply reading a book are gone.
The more the technology has advanced, radio, television, the internet, the lower and lower the quality of information and the quality of the experience have declined.

We are now at the paramount of junk brain food evolution and the resulting problem is starting to become obvious: the growing epidemic of mental “obesity” I’m seeing around every day.
Apathy, short attention span, a degeneration of the common sense, irrational behavior, rage and confusion just to name a few of the symptoms of this new epidemic.

How long before we all realize that this “diet” of junk thought is as damaging to our mind and soul as the cholesterol, the fat, the sugar and salt of the junk food is damaging to our body?
Do we really have to wait for the scientists to tell us that all this garbage we expose our brains to is bad for us?
I don’t know about you but I instinctively started a mental “diet” and I am urging anybody with some common sense left to do the same.

You deserve much better than what the media and internet is pouring down your throat.
You just have to drop the “convenience” of the junk thought industry and go back to the old ways.
You deserve quality nutrition not only for your body but also for your mind and soul.

Here is what I do and maybe you can add some suggestion of your own to my list.
-          I cut off the satellite subscription since 2011 and not replaced with anything else.
-          I cut off my social media presence to a bare minimum. I don’t have a Face Book account, or should I say I couldn’t close it so I just turned it into a fake account I just use when I need a FB account to log in something else.
-          I changed my internet presence from passive to active. And this is what I mean by it. I changed my browser homepage to google.com so when I go on the internet it opens to an almost blank page and nothing is forced down my throat. From there I choose what I want to see or hear.
-          I cut down on my email intake by putting any unrequested email in the junk bin. I am now down to 3-4 emails a day.
-          I spend as much time in nature as I can. No weekends at home or on the internet.
-          I nurture face to face or at least person to person communication and relationships.
-          I meditate and dedicate special time to my spiritual wellbeing.
-          I try to be as creative as possible. Even if it is just writing a blog post.

So that’s a little bit of my experience I want to share with you.
I believe I deserve better and YOU should also seek, choose and accept only what’s best for you


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Illusion of Possession

We all heard the story of how Manhattan Island was purchased from the Native American tribes by Dutch settlers for a handful of colored glass beads, the moral of the story being how clever the white people were and how naïve and ignorant the indigenous people were.
Besides being factually incorrect, the story doesn’t mention a lot of other things that were very pertinent in the making of the deal.

The notion and concept of possession is not as universal as we think.
This is mainly because property and possession are manmade concepts and build as such, to serve their purpose and not as universal and natural laws as many like to believe.

The Native Americans did not have the concept of ownership the colonist have.
To the native people owning land was as absurd as owning the air in the sky or the water in the rivers.
We do not own the land and the land does not belong to us. It is the opposite way; we belong to the land.
This concept of no possession it is the more intuitive, natural one since possession is an illusion.

What we really mean by possession is actually a form of use interdiction.
When we purchased the land from the Native Americans we did not say:  We are giving you these goods but in exchange, you are forbidden the use of the land. You cannot hunt, raise your cattle, build your house or walk on this land anymore.
If we have explained the deal like that I’m sure the deal would have never been made.

Another classical example of how and why property and possession are manmade artificial concepts is the Communist system.
In 1917 under Lenin’s leadership, the great Bolshevik revolution took place in Russia.
For the first time, the “people” took control of a country and personal property was abolished.
In Russia, the land belonged to the Russian people now. At least that’s what they said.

I grew up in a communist country and I’m very familiar with this concept.
I remember distinctively being in High school at the age where individuality pops up.
I saw the son of the Party secretary coming to school in a personal car with a personal driver so I asked: “How come he has a car and a personal driver?”
“Comrade! That is our car, the people’s car. The comrade Secretary is only using it because his job is more important than anybody else.”

Personal property or collective property is the same concept: The concept of use interdiction.
The peasants working in the farm Collectives did not own the land, the government did.
Pretty much the same as here in the US. There is no public, land, public road or public park as you are lead to believe.
Try to use it for your own purpose like building something on public land and you will soon discover that is not “our” land, it is in fact, Government land.

Of course, you’d say; “Maybe, but my house is MY kingdom I can do whatever I want on MY land”
Not so fast. It is Government land and you need a permit to build anything on the Government land.
Ask anybody that “owns” a house or any other piece of real-estate for that matter.
You don’t own anything. Possession is an illusion.
Possession is only the ability to forbid somebody else from using whatever you think is yours.
But nothing besides your life experience is actually yours because anybody at any time can have that use restricted or removed, like it or not.
So be rich in life experiences. Be rich in love, nobody can take that from you.



Monday, July 10, 2017

Row, row, row your boat…

Let’s imagine for a minute that you are in heaven. 
In heaven the streets are paved with gold, the weather is always gorgeous, you have everything you desire and life couldn’t be more perfect.
However, there is one small inconvenience; there is not much to do.

Here you are, singing praise to the Lord day after day and doing all the other heavenly things you do in heaven - you can see my knowledge of heaven is pretty lousy – So after an eternity or two, you begin to get bored.
How much perfect everything can one soul stand? 

So you go to God and say: Father this is getting pretty boring. You are God for God‘s sake can’t you come up with something fun to do? 
So God comes up with this crazy idea. 

Let’s open a water park. I’ll make a ride for you, I’ll call it life.
I’ll make these little dinghies, we’ll call them human bodies, you get on one of them and I’ll push you down this stream of water called time.
To make it more interesting I’ll make some up and downs some unexpected turns, dark tunnels, whirlpools, the works.
What do you say? 

You are all excited and say: Hurray put me on!
So here you are, strapped into your human body and after 9month of climbing in this dark tunnel, you start your life ride.
And here you are going down the stream, twisting and turning, hopping and sliding, kicking and screaming and then you get to the end of the ride and say: Whew! That was fun! Let’s do it again.

OK, so you may say that I am wrong, that life is not a water park ride. 
That life is absolutely and completely serious business. 

But here I am in my dinghy – I have a body don’t I? And here you are in yours going down the river of time. 

You can’t stop time from flowing, can you?
No matter what you do, tomorrow the sun will rise.
No matter what you do, you will go up and you will go down.
You will scream and shout trying to take control of your life but life will just keep on going with its unpredictable events.
Like it or not there is another twist and another turn just when you think you have figured it out.

And guess what?

It is going to be just the same from now on until the end of the ride.
So why are you kicking and screaming for? Slow down and sing with me: 
Row, row, row, your boat, happy down the stream.
Merely, merely, merely. Life is but a dream!

Friday, July 7, 2017

The TAO of Happiness

Some people want power, some people want wealth.
Some people want fame, some people want success.
But why do we want the things we want?
We do it because we believe that getting what we want will make us happy.

But are the successful, rich, famous, powerful and influential happier than the rest of us?
Are the divorce rates, suicide rates lower for them ten us?
Are they less prone to depression, anxiety, pain, and suffering?
Well, I don’t have any scientific data but empirical evidence and common sense point to a negative answer.
Getting what you want will not make you happy.

So what makes people happy?

Relationships
Have you ever been in love? Then you know what happiness is.
Having a circle of people close to us emotionally it is one of the greatest factors in our happiness.
Having somebody to share your joy with just makes your joy so much larger.
Having somebody to share your pain and suffering with is the best medicine.

Acts of kindness.
Next to love there in nothing more rewarding than an act of kindness.
Helping a person in need, rescuing a stray animal, showing empathy to a stranger is one of the greatest experience a person can have.
So why do we see so few acts of kindness in our world, in our lives?
Because we believe that taking is more rewarding than giving.
Is the materialistic way, rich and miserable.

Self-fulfillment
Do you wake up every day all excited to go to work, or do you dread having to put another day in the rat race?
Doing what you love and loving what you do, is our next great source of satisfaction and happiness.
Finding your call in life, cultivating your talents, being creative, should be one of the main concerns and goals in your life.
All the material things should be a reward for us following our dreams not the purpose of our life.

Spiritual Engagement.
Spiritual people are happier and healthier than the rest of the population.
That is because a rich spiritual life is conducive to a Positive Mindset, Optimism, Mindfulness, and Gratitude.
Practicing meditation has been scientifically proven to have tremendous health benefits.
It doesn't cost any money, it doesn't need expensive equipment and you can start doing it right now.

Exercise and Physical Wellbeing
A healthy active life is an easy recipe for happiness. 
There is nothing more useful to burn negative energy than physical activity.

Are you mad at somebody or something? 
Do not think about it. Go to the gym and hit a punching bag.
Not only will you fill better but pretty soon you’ll have fabulous abs.

Your surroundings.
Where you live has more to do with your happiness than you may think.
The quality of life and people surrounding you have a big impact on how you feel and choosing a place to live should take in consideration that factor.

There are studies done around the world measuring people's “happiness” and here there are some of the results of such study:
Norway is considered the happiest country in the world.
Canada is on at number 7 while the United States is on the 14th place.
So why is that? 
Think about it.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Jesus – The sequel

I have this idea for a movie. It goes something like this:
An unimaginable cosmic event occurs. The whole universe disappears except the Sun and Earth.
The scientist shit their pants and the whole word goes into a hysterical panic.
The sky opens up and an army of angels descends over the Washington DC and Jesus Christ makes his return back to earth as the King of kings and ruler of Earth.

Jesus addresses the world on every media available; TV station, podcast, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter etc.
He brings the world the most unbelievable news. His death has paid all human debt and all our sins past, present, and future are forgiven.
There is, however, a little problem.

Satan has opposed the deal as unfair to the dark side and in order to seal the deal with Jesus, he will get this little caveat added to the Jesus – Humanity deal.
Everybody goes to hell for the amount the wealth they have. 1 year of hell for every dollar.

So if you have let’s say a 250000$ house a car, a saving and checking account and all your other belongings, say about 50000$ for a grand total of 300000$.
Then you will spend 300000 years in hell before you can join Jesus in paradise.
Also, anybody trying to burn their money, literarily or figuratively speaking, or find a loophole and cheat Satan of his share will automatically go to Hell for all eternity.

So now, what do you thing will happen to humanity?
How will, people react? How will people change their behavior?

Obviously, everybody will try to get rid of their wealth but remember you cannot just throw away your money, it has to be a legitimate cause, like saving the polar bears or building schools where the schools are need it.
Obviously, the debt will become the most precious commodity. Anybody in debt automatically goes to heaven.
Poor countries, like Greece with a huge deficit, will become the richest country in the world because remember debt is something everybody wants J

There are also other funny scenarios, like: Nobody wants a luxury car anymore. If you couldn’t leave without a car you would want to buy the cheapest car available, so now what would the automakers do?
Then when you want to apply for a car loan what would the banks do? Would they charge you an interest, or give you incentives, like a paid luxury vacation just to take their money?


Of course, you can say no problem; if you are filthy rich you just continue to live the way you die you just pass your wealth to your children and relatives, and so on and so forth.
But how do you know when you going to die? And one more thing since all sins are forgiven, including murder what would stop anyone from killing you just for fun?

Oh, the possibilities for fun and tragedy are endless!
Do you have any ideas to add?

Monday, July 3, 2017

LOL

Let’s do a little experiment
I want you to smile right now. Just put a grin on your face.
Stretched the corners of your mouth towards your years and smile
Keep this fake smile on your face for a minute or two.
How does it feel? How do you feel?

I don’t know the result of your experiment but when I do it I feel both funny and embarrassed.
I feel funny because there is this giddy, joyous feeling that comes with putting a smile on your face.
I feel embarrassed because growing up I was told don`t smile or laugh without a reason like an idiot.
And that created in my mind this preconceived idea that happiness has to have a reason.

Why do we think that happiness is a frivolous feeling and only depression is serious business?
I believe that it should be exactly the opposite: Depression should be treated as not important and happiness should be our serious business.
Don`t you agree?

We focus so much time and energy of our lives on the negative feelings.
Just look at the daily news, everything is gloom and doom, it1s the end of the world as we know it.
We have a love affair with negativity, although we pretend we don’t like it.

We pretend to fight it.
We all, in a form or another, are addicted to drugs, therapy, spirituality and all sorts of other things we do to alleviate our depression, while the answer is quite obvious.
The cure for depression is happiness, the cure for sadness is joy.
The only way to fight darkness is with light.

But we refuse the joy, we refuse the happiness.
You need to have a reason for joy/and happiness.
you need a new car,  new dress, a new job a new lover, you need something to make you smile, to make you happy.
Only crazy people smile and are happy without reason. Right?

Well if that’s the case you know what I say?  Let`s go crazy, let1s go out of our minds. Let`s spend the rest of our lives smiling without a reason.
If depression is being miserable for being miserable, I believe happiness should be being happy for being alive.

So go ahead and LOL, you deserve it.


Friday, June 30, 2017

The Atheist Fallacy

I was watching a YouTube video of stand-up comedian Jim Jefferies.  BTW the guy is pretty good IMO.
Half way through his routine he announced that he has converted to atheism. Then he proceeds to do a series of God jokes.
The jokes were pretty funny but what made them even funnier, for me, was his pompous righteousness.
The guy actually believes he’s right, that he had figured it all out and he got all the right answers.

I don’t have permission to publish his jokes but for exemplification, I have made one myself. It goes like this:

If God was a real being living on a golden throne up in the sky surrounded by flying angels and cherubims, we would have people driving around airports carrying buckets of BBQ sauce eating all those fried wings coming down from the sky.

I know, it is not very funny but it gives an idea about the standup routine I am talking about.
The underlying of all that funny stuff was that God doesn’t actually exist.
But coming from a guy that pretends to be a logical, rational, scientifically mind the argument is totally bogus.

Let’s take this argument:
Bananas grow in the clouds in the sky.
Let’s make the counter argument:
People are flying all over the world and nobody has ever seen bananas growing in the clouds.
Conclusion:
Bananas do not exist.
The fallacy:
Bananas do exist, I actually have a couple in my kitchen right now.

To understand where this fallacy comes from we have to look at the background of an atheist.
They are people coming from a religious background. People that have been told all their lives that God exists and the Bible is the work and word of God and therefore the proof of God’s existence.

While some people accept that unconditionally, some people look at the Bible with a rational, logical mind and find a plethora of contradictions and inconsistencies. The result is they start to doubt God’s existence and eventually they become atheists.

Here is another possible explanation:
God has no religion. God has no church. God has no bible.
Religion, church and the Bible are all made up, and they prove nothing except the human ignorance.

Once you make that distinction, that God, church, and religion are not one and the same you have little to none ground to stand on.
That is because logically, rationally and scientifically you cannot prove God doesn’t exist.
You can only prove that things exist.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Understanding human nature

Understanding human behavior is as easy as understanding Yin and Yang, black and white, in and out or Burger King.
Human beings will do anything to gain pleasure and avoid pain.

Theoretically, that would make the Earth a heaven of joy and happiness where pain and suffering would not exist.
Practically, the reality is quite different. The world is a rather harsh place, where pain and misery are a daily fare.

Why is that?
If we all want only positive things in our life how come there are so many negative things happening?
Who are the assholes turning this wonderful world upside-down?
Well, to put it succinctly; we are.

How do you react in front of adversity?
How do you react when you are bullied, abused and victimized?

When under attack we have two basic way of responding; flight or fight.
We run away from our attacker or from our problems, we cower and collapse or we hit back, we respond to the violence with more violence.

The nature of our response is encrypted in our genes and the equation is very simple.
If you are attacked by a superior force you ran, if you are attacked by an inferior power, you fight.
It is this balance of power or the perception of the balance of power that dictates our response.

There are no born victims or aggressors. It all depends on the circumstances.
People that have been victimized will become aggressors, and aggressors will become victims in the right circumstances.

We all seek pleasure.
The problem is that many times that pleasure comes at the expenses of somebody else’s pain.
We all have fantasized to take revenge on somebody that has abused us: A bad unfair boss, a cheating partner, an unprofessional colleague, an annoying neighbor or a rude driver, the list goes on.

We all seek to avoid pain.
Many times we do not turn our violent fantasy into reality, mainly because there are laws and law enforcers that keep us from doing it, and because we realize there is a price to pay and the idea of the pain that comes with that will keep us from acting out.

To truly understand this power balance play we have to understand the concept of power.
Power is defined in many ways and many times is confused with force, strength, violence, might, authority and influence.

Power is the ability of act. Power doesn’t have to act with force and its actions don’t have to be necessarily violent. It also doesn’t have to be used always to exercise authority and influence.
A truly powerful person, group or nation doesn’t have to attack a less powerful one in order to show superiority or dominate.

In a person, to person aggression, the aggressor is always power hungry not power full.
By attacking a less powerful one he or she seeks to increase its dominance, its perceived power.

We have wrongly learned that the way to gain power is by aggression by domination of others.
True power can only come from inside. It cannot be gained by aggression.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Reality

On my desk, at work, I have one of those electronic picture frames that flip through thousands of pictures stored in their memory chip.
I’m looking at a picture I took on one of my many camping trips.

It is the view of a creek bank.
Water coming down, rushing through the rocks in white foamy waves.
A small waterfall is the center of my attention but the surroundings are as idyllic.

Majestic trees bend over the creek forming a surreal tunnel.
The light brakes through the canopy and in the patches of light on the grassy banks wildflower shine like bright colored jewels.

A young doe has stopped by the creek and is looking intently at the same view I am trying to capture.
I never thought of it before but now looking at this picture again, suddenly a question crosses my mind.
Is the doe just scared? As it somehow sensed my presence and her attention is an act of her instinct of preservation? Or is she just looking at the beauty of the view the same way I do?

My ego quips in: “Of course she is sensing the danger. An animal is not capable of perceiving beauty.”
“Is it?” My higher self replies

I grew up on a farm and I am an animal lover.
One thing I know for sure is that animals are not dumb and are not insensitive.
Animal are smart and capable of a large variety of emotions, some of them quite complex.
Any animal lover and pet owner already knows that.

We think we are the smartest thing in the universe because we can watch TV and we can read.
But judging by the way we vote or treat our environment we are the dumbest animals on this planet.
We are superior because we decided that on our own subjective criteria.
If the judges were monkeys and the measure of superiority was the ability to climb trees, who do you think would be the superior being?

There is a crazy scientist that played music for young plants – don’t ask me why, or how he came up with this idea considering plants have no years – but the results of the experiment were quite remarkable:
Plants show an affinity for some type of music like classical or elevator music and dislike to heavy metal or punk music. – go figure!

Do you want to hear an even crazier experiment?
There is a Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto, that played music for water. Yes for water!
He played music for the water while growing ice crystals.
Here is what he got:

What does it mean?
I don’t know, I don’t speak water but one thing is for sure:
We don’t know anything about how other beings or other things perceive reality.
We just assume we are the only ones perceiving beauty, harmony or meaning.

I’m looking at my picture frame. The doe is gone and now there is another frame of my past looking back at me.
I still wonder how the doe was looking, perceiving the reality of that scene.
I only hope that she was seeing it with an unclutter ego. Without having to think about going back to work on Monday. Without worrying about bills, health insurance and putting the kids through college.

I hope that other beings and things perceive reality in its fullest beauty.
Like I did for a moment that day when my soul was in awe and for a second my Ego was overpowered by beauty and for a brief second stopped clouding my perception.
For a moment I felt one with nature, and the feeling was magical and overwhelming.
That’s how I think beauty should be perceived, outside the human Ego.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Don't push!

Oh, the joy of spirituality!
The wakening up to the realization that life doesn’t have to be a struggle, that the world can be a wonderful place and we all can be enlightened beings.
I remember the days of my youth when my eyes started to open.

I was all excited, like a kid on the Christmas day discovering a trove of presents under the Christmas tree.
The joy was overflowing and I wanted to share my newly acquired treasure with the entire world.
I wanted everybody to know about it. I wanted everybody to practice it and benefit from it.
I wanted to make the world a better place.

Little did I know…
The world doesn’t want spirituality and enlightenment.
Everybody is saying they are looking for enlightenment and happiness but the world wants what it wants and most of the time that is heartache and misery.

I saw the suffering in people around me and I approached them with a friendly advice, with understanding and love.
They wouldn’t listen to me or pretended to but then take my advice and throw it away like a piece of spoiled food, unappetizing and undesirable.

I thought maybe their distrust me because they didn’t know me and they would be suspicious by a stranger’s intentions.
So I talked to my friends, to the people that new me and new my intentions.
But the result was pretty much the same.

Nobody is interested in bettering themselves.
People cling to their misery and their problems like a precious heirloom.
Their pain and suffering is a badge of honor and they expect the world to admire and praise their suffering.

Trying to liberate them from that suffering is like trying to take away their life meaning.
If you tell them to change they will ask you to accept the way they are instead.
If you tell them there is a solution they will tell you, you do not understand their problem.
If you push them, they will resist and push back.

So don’t push!

I know it sounds simple and logical but our instinct is to help out, to push, not to sit back and let the disaster unfold in front of our eyes without interfering.
Never the less that is the proper thing to do. Acting by nonacting,
Waiting for the people to ask for help, before offering your help.

Don’t push! – Pull!
Do you think that’s easy to do?

I have a lot of friends that are still very unhappy about the presidential election.
Do you think they are waiting for the disaster to unfold before they act, or do you think they are pushing as hard as they can to change what was already done?

Do you think the pushing is working, that they are conquering and changing anybody’s mind?
Or do you think they are just creating more resentment and animosity?
I’m not suggesting an advice because I know nobody will listen. I’m just curious.

But don’t push.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Zen Dialectics

Dialectic or dialectics (Greek: διαλεκτική, dialektikḗ), also known as the dialectical method, is a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments. The term dialectic is not synonymous with the term debate.
-          Wikipedia

Zen philosophy is so darn weird and wonderful that has fascinated people since the Western civilization has come in contact with it.
Wherever you are a Buddhist, or a neophyte you have probably read or heard a koan or two.
Like the famous “Does a tree falling in the forest make any noise?” or “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

They are intriguing little quips of whimsical wisdom that entice us to think but at the same time seem impossible riddles to understand or solve.
That is the mistake all Zen students make. Koans are not meant to be understood.
It is that it is. There is nothing to understand.

Enlightenment cannot be taught.
Enlightenment can be only achieved and experienced.
Enlightenment is not something that you know; enlightenment is a state of mind, like being in love.

Reality is the ultimate truth. The truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
So how do you tech reality?
How does a Zen master teaches what cannot be taught?
He can’t.

The only thing a Zen master can do is destroy your rational mind, to show you the inadequacy of logical thinking and thus to force you to accept the ultimate truth.
It is that it is.
Reality

So every time the student asks a question or comes up with an answer the teacher knows that those are just shadows of the reality.
So he devises a counter argument “a reality check” response to the student.

The counterargument is not meant to clarify the problem but to make it even more absurd.
In the end the student has no choice but to give up, to look beyond the words, to see the reality as it is, not as perception and fall in love with it.
This is the principle of Zen dialectic and has been used for centuries to create enlightenment in the Zen student,

The problem with that is when trying to encapsulate that wisdom in words, to put it in books, you lose the dynamic interaction, the dialectic that is the motor of the enlightenment process.
You end up with a bunch of anecdotes, of stories about stories that are supposed to teach you NOTHING.


And NOTHING is a damn hard thing to understand. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Tao of Hollywood - Groundhog Day

“Phil: I'm a god.
Rita: You're God?
Phil: I'm a god. I'm not *the* God... I don't think.”

“Phil: Well maybe the *real* God uses tricks, you know? Maybe he's not omnipotent. He's just been around so long he knows everything.”

Groundhog Day (1993 starring Bill Murray) is a movie classic, one of the must see movies on your must see movie list.
It is almost universally wrongly summarized as the story of Phil, a weatherman reporter, stuck in a time loop living the same day over and over again.

“Phil: Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today.”

Actually, to be exact Phil is not reliving the same day over and over again; he is relieving the same date, the same time span, February 2nd the Groundhog Day.
But every time he reliving it, the day is a little bit different.

“Phil: Do you ever have déjà vu, Mrs. Lancaster?
Mrs. Lancaster: I don't think so, but I could check with the kitchen.”

This movie poses a very serious metaphysical question; if you could go back in time and relieve your life, would your life be the same?

“Phil: Do you know what today is?
Rita: No, what?
Phil: Today is tomorrow. It happened.”

The answer is “MOO” For the non-Zen speakers it means; a bit more complex than an “YES” or a “NO”
Our life, our days are the result of who and what we basically are. And since we are the same every day of our life are basically the same.

“Phil: What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?
Ralph: That about sums it up for me.”

Nothing will change in our life unless we change.

“Phil: I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters.
[Ralph and Gus snort]
Phil: *That* was a pretty good day. Why couldn't I get *that* day over, and over, and over...”

It is the universal law of cause and effect at work.
To change the outcome of any action you have to change what causes it.

“Rita: This day was perfect. You couldn't have planned a day like this.
Phil: Well, you can. It just takes an awful lot of work.”

We all want a better life, a better career, belter relationships, better health in other words better outside circumstances. But we seldom ask or work for a better self. And that is the key, that is the answer, the solution to all our problems.

“Phil: Something is... different.
Rita: Good or bad?
Phil: Anything different is good.”

So if you have some spare time and a Netflix account here is a good idea on how to spend some relaxing time:
Watch “Groundhog Day” t is one of the rare movies that only gets better with time.
And a last quote from the movie:

“Phil: I killed myself so many times I don't even exist anymore.”


Friday, June 16, 2017

The Pareto principle and personal time management

Vilfredo Pareto, was an Italian economist, engineer, philosopher, and sociologist at the beginning of the 19th century.
He observed that about 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas and letter own that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

This 80/20 connection was later empirically observed repeatedly in nature, economy, business etc. and so the Pareto Principle a.k.a  the 80/20 principle was born.
The principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort.
One of the most common uses of this principle is improving the efficiency of a given system.
For example in sales, 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients, and 20% of the sales people bill 80% of the orders.

Knowing that it is really easy to redirect your resources on the 20% of most effective customers or sales force. 
Basically, by eliminating the 80% inefficiently used resources or by redirecting your resources away from the inefficient markets you can obtain better results without any additional investments.

That sounds like a very smart thing to do if you have your own business or you are in charge of a corporation, but how do you apply this principle to your personal life?

One of the problems I’m facing almost daily is the lack of time.
It seems to me that I never have enough time to do the things I want to do and I need a better way to manage my time.
So I started keeping a little journal with everything I was doing daily.

It turns out, roughly, that 80% of what I accomplish was done in 20% of the time I spent.
That is very interesting but it doesn’t help much.
I cannot fire the 80% of me that is inefficient.
See the problem?
This may work for a big corporation but not if you are self-employed.

So let’s look at the problem the other way:
The 80% of the time I spend solving 20% of my tasks.
Why is that? Why it takes so much damn time to do so little?
Why do I spend more time doing the small and easy tasks than the big and important ones?

It turns out that is the way I do things.
Let’s say it is the start of a new day. I have a list of things to do.
I look at the list and pick the easiest most rewarding task. Like checking my email or may blog.
By the time I’m done with all the “little” stuff I realize I don’t have enough time to do the big stuff I was planning to do.
So I go back and do more little stuff or just killing time, like playing video games.

This is what I never have any time to do the things I want to do.
It is like eating the cake before eating your vegetables.
Not a very conducive to a healthy way of eating.

So I devised a system of time management where tasks are done in order of size and time availability.
Basically, you have to make three separate lists of long, medium and short tasks.
(Posted notes work very well for this)
Then do the biggest task you can do first, then when that is done repeat the process, chose the biggest task you have time left to do and so one and so forth.

Naturally, the available time will shrink to the point that you’ll have to do the small stuff last until there is no more time left.
This method will force you to use your time in the most efficient way, although not the most pleasant.
Like I said it is the choice between cake and vegetables, goofing off or efficiency.
Your choice!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fat Chance!

I grew up on a farm where everything was self-sustaining.
We grew our own food, we build our houses and made our clothing.
Everything was treasured and nothing was wasted.

The world still fights to feed its people.
Having enough to eat is still a main problem in many countries.
It seems ironic then that some people’s problem is having too much to eat.

When I came to the US in 1983 one of the many cultural shocks I experienced was the American food culture.
I have never heard of “dieting” before and obesity use to be a disease caused by a wacky metabolism. I knew only one obese child growing up and yes we call him “Fatso”
But he was the exception, a medical anomaly not the rule.

America is obsessed with its overweight problem.
You cannot turn on the TV or open a magazine without being bombarded by another miracle diet plan, diet food, diet drink, diet supplements or God knows what other diet snake oil they will come up with next.

Diet is a big business and dieting has become an industry and national obsession in America.
Let me tell you a little dieting secret you’ll never hear on Oprah:
Healthy, slim, normal people don’t diet!

To listen to all the so called “experts” that have lost 300 pounds tell you how to lose weight is like taking advice from a crack addict on how to stop smoking!
Overweight is not a problem. Overweight is a symptom, for God’s sake.
We do not suffer from overweighting, we suffer from over eating.

The problem is our dysfunctional relationship you have with our food.
To go on a diet is to replace our dysfunctional relationship with our food with an even more dysfunctional one!
That’s why diets do not work. Dieting is not a normal way of living.
Once again: Look at your normal friends. They do not diet!
Why are they then not fat? Because they have a normal relationship with their food.

Yes relationship. – Don’t give me that BS excuse: they have good genes.
I used to be a therapist and I dealt a lot with overweight people. The problem is always the same. People use food as a crutch.

Some people use it as a love substitute, lover substitute, sex substitute, self-esteem substitute, success substitute and so on and so forth.
Whatever we lack in our lives we substitute it with food.
Instead of getting what we really need in our life, we eat and that creates a false pleasure in our mind, a false sense of wellbeing.

Yes, it all starts in your mind.
So change your eating habits you have to change the way you think and feel about food.
Without that you’ll never lose weight.

You have to stop dieting and instead develop a healthy relationship with your food.
But trust me if your relationship with food doesn’t change, same forces that have made you gain weight in the first place will put your weight back and then some.

Building a relationship with your food has to start with the basics; like knowing your food.
Go to the farmers market and buy your own produce instead of going to a restaurant.
Cook your own food, control what goes in your body don’t let yourself become addicted to the fat, sugar and salt that oversaturates the processed foods.

Healthy people do not eat in restaurants, at least not in the restaurants you and I eat.
If you have enough money and price is not an objection you can buy anything, even healthy food but for the rest of us, the 99% as they say, money is not a luxury.

What makes the difference between the healthy normal weight people and the overeating crowd is the relationships we have with our food.
 Healthy people do not diet.
A diet works less than 1 in a 1000 and it is by pure accident, by chance – like gaining back your self-confidence once you see yourself slim in the mirror.
So if you thinking of starting yet another diet, think again at your chance to succeed.
Fat chance!