Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well-
Before a cyclocross race recently, I was listening to a close friend describing his favorite hobby – He likes to make wooden toys and other wooden “things“. Although, he starts many projects and simply lets them stack up, unfinished. “I don’t have a real passion for my hobby at times,” he said to me … His last words before we started the race planted a question in my head that I have often thought about: How do we cultivate and nurture our passion(s) in life?
You know it when you feel it don’t you? You get that butterfly sense deep inside that “something” significant is close and you gently move towards it. You make room for “it” and you fully awaken to its presence in your life. Maybe these new-found feelings affirm what we desired, or maybe they will completely change them? For some folks, a single passion burns for their entire lives. It’s their true essence, their true authentic self and they would never give it up …
I know that whatever compels me toward these deeper experience(s) will likely wear thin at certain times during my life. But you know what? It’s totally fine with me.
Arousal begins within the mind, then seeps out where fantasy propels physicality-
Is striking a match necessary in order to light a candle? The initial sparks of a freshly lit candle can yield a warm blaze, and the same simple action(s) can be applied to lighting our inner fire.
The passion building in our hearts matters just as much as what our muscles are doing in regards to sparks that can start a fire. If you are thinking about your workout program tomorrow morning, segment planning on Strava, picking out your running clothes and making sure your yoga pants are ready to go … These feelings of passion are likely to arise. If you are focused on the way your body “looks“, the woman who just breezed by you, comparing yourself to everyone in the crowd or fleeting fantasies of how “hot” and “toned” you will be after class? Odds are that your passion will decrease …
The key word folks is focus. States of flow, including flow during yoga class and while out riding early one morning, depend upon my focused attention (otherwise I keep awaking old injuries). Hence, I prefer to spark my fire by using a magnifying glass – Like a beam of light, the more pinpoint my focus, the more intense my states of flow are. A magnifying glass can intensify and focus sunlight to the point that a single beam of light will cause the candle upon which it is focused, to burn into flame … What actions do you take, to spark your inner fire?
Even chance meetings are the result of karma… Things in life are fated by our previous lives. That even in the smallest events there’s no such thing as coincidence-
Its a beautiful morning and the perfect time to discuss karma.
I often hear from different folks (I personally contemplate these thoughts as well) who want to know why they are struggling, when others are not (running specific this morning). The vast majority of them think their training/performance is some sort of “karmic retribution” for a fleeting, bad action in the past – Heaven forbid we eat three pieces of wedding cake the day before a race! Fast forward to limping across the finish line, emotional and sick because “bad karma” doomed them to suffer from the very start.
This next bit is a memo to myself: The simple truth about Karma? Karma is about the nature of our intentions, our intentions in this very moment.
When we respond to our intention and action(s), with kindness, compassion, and generosity? We are planting the seeds of change, slowly blossoming into someone who is kind, compassionate, and generous. We are defining our character, which in turn has a pretty cool effect on the world around us.
The teachings of Buddha in regards to karma can be life changing. Each one of us posses the ability to change ourselves no matter how ingrained our habits may be, even blaming a poor performance on wedding cake. As some wise dude once said: “Intending, one does karma.”
How pleasant to sit on the beach,
On the beach, on the sand, in the sun,
With ocean galore within reach,
And nothing at all to be done!
No letters to answer,
No bills to be burned,
No work to be shirked,
No cash to be earned.
It is pleasant to sit on the beach
With nothing at all to be done.
How pleasant to look at the ocean,
Democratic and damp; indiscriminate;
It fills me with noble emotion
To think I am able to swim in it.
To lave in the wave,
Majestic and chilly,
Tomorrow I crave;
But today it is silly.
It is pleasant to look at the ocean;
Tomorrow, perhaps, I shall swim in it.
How pleasant to gaze at the sailors,
As their sailboats they manfully sail
With the vigor of vikings and whalers
In the days of the viking and whale.
They sport on the brink
Of the shad and the shark;
If it’s windy they sink;
If it isn’t, they park.
It is pleasant to gaze at the sailors,
To gaze without having to sail.
How pleasant the salt anaesthetic
Of the air and the sand and the sun;
Leave the earth to the strong and athletic,
And the sea to adventure upon.
But the sun and the sand
No contractor can copy;
We lie in the land
Of the lotus and poppy;
We vegetate, calm and aesthetic,
On the beach, on the sand, in the sun.
Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present-
Note: Over the course of the next few posts, I am going to try to write about – equanimity – Key word being try. Personally, writing and discussing equanimity is tricky and this is where I need your help! I implore you to share your thoughts and insights on this very “tricky” topic. Thank you for your help in advance!
Equanimity is not about being a doormat to others, the world. Nor is equanimity suppressing your emotions, your true spirit. So, what the hell is it?!?
Personally, as defined by yours truly – Equanimity means maintaining mental calmness, composure, an evenness of temper, during stressful situations. There are, throughout my day, certain folks or situations that trigger within me a deep-rooted sense of anger. Which, makes it rather difficult for me to be the cool dude people often think I am? What stops me from choke slamming an ignorant driver? Lashing out verbally at a yoga instructor who leaves a tired class in high plank, only to lament how tired and sore he is? Saving the best example for last … Thinking you are having a pleasant conversation with someone, only to find out they were not listening, enamored with their gadget instead.
I have found equanimity to be my most calming state of mind, especially when interacting with people who rub me the wrong way and push my “buttons“.
If you want to make it through the day with an inner sense of grace and calm, equanimity is going to take you a lot farther than hostility. Let’s play around with the wording … If you want to make it through a challenging power yoga class? Allow equanimity to guide you, instead of being a chump, a whining chump who spews hate and hostility having to do a plank for two minutes.
Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another-
Where self-criticism leaves us powerless and distraught, self-compassion and following our true passion in life is at the root of empowerment, learning, and inner strength.
It’s safe to say that common knowledge favors passion, right?!? “Follow your passion” random bloggers urge. “Give all your heart” reads another witty blog post title. Can we all agree that passion is pretty cool and a useful endeavor? Sprinkled kindly and with care, passion on top of passion, and everything else in life that follows will be pure bliss. So why not marinate yourself with passion and savor this “sauce of life?“
Ladies? Dudes? Come a little closer so know one will hear what you are about to admit … How many movies starring Hugh Grant have you watched with plots that center on this very question: Will
J-LO (some woman) run away and madly fall in love with Hugh, choosing the frenzied, passionate hunk for a life filled with unpredictability and passion, or will she choose the man whose love is firm and deep, a man who is predictable and well … steady, loving?
Passion can be tricky, really tricky and nasty at times. Passion is pure joy, when carried away by romance, or in the flow of yoga class, out on the trail, passion makes us feel vibrantly alive. Like the essence of a perfumed wind, delicious, delightful, not to be missed…and fleeting like an ephemeral flower in spring.
Be well and take care this weekend!
Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do)-
It seems that in today’s world we have the freedom to pick and choose form a potpourri basket of interests …
“Check it out! I’m like totally doing this 30 day paleo, meditation, yoga, power walking, green smoothie, smiling at strangers, whole body cleanse thing! Just read about this push up challenge and hill sprint interval thing as well!“
Why do we choose to pursue a wide variety of “things” simultaneously and figure out how to do these “things” in a way and on a level that is average at best?
“My friend and I had a great workout at the box yesterday! 5 rounds of: 15 push ups – 15 jumping jacks – 15 sit ups – 15 walls balls and a 400m run. I still need to work on my push ups though, three years now and they are still pretty sloppy.“
Whatever happened to developing a deep knowledge base, knowing information (not stored on a gadget) and total devotion to the pursuit of mastery in a single field?
“I forget what my split times are in the pool but I’m thinking if I can work on my transition more it should make up for my poor swimming performance … Maybe?!?“
Are we afraid as a society to endure the intense work, discipline and willingness it takes to master a selected discipline? Are we afraid to embrace the risk needed to walk away from merely being “average” in the name of becoming extraordinary at one?
“It’s the same during every century ride: Chum it up with the guys for the first few miles, then I ride alone for the remainder of the time, lost in my thoughts, worried about “something”? I suppose it’s the 8am yoga class tomorrow and the 5k at noon?!?“
Yearn for the sense of intensity, focus and intrinsic reward that comes from the single-minded quest to master a particular body of knowledge: Yoga, mediation, martial arts, relationship(s), life etc. Radiate the pure energy and passionate spirit that comes not only from having attained mastery, but from simply being in the process of mastery. The secret Dear Reader lies here in the process of seeking mastery, this is where we find awareness, comfort, stillness, joy, harmony and balance.
Do you, deep down inside, feel satisfied knowing that you are merely pretty decent at a bunch of “things”, but not exceptional at any?