Koan - Who's there?

Once you were a child, then a student, an employee, and now something else.

One day you're ecstatic, another you're depressed.  

One week you are obsessed with work, the next with family.

Strip away the emotions, obsessions, and activities. What is left?

Do you know who you truly are?

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Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living
Identity, meaning, life, Buddhism, Who am I? Finding yourself.

Experience and Awareness

Being fully present changes everything.  How you experience the moment and the events of your life, is more important than the actual events themselves.  The events in your life are merely questions, tests.  Much more important than the questions are your answers.  

It really doesn't matter so much exactly what is going on in your life.  Satisfaction and meaning come from our awareness of and interaction with what is happening - not the events themselves.  Focusing on our awareness we can find meaning and fulfillment in each moment regardless of the circumstances in our lives.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living
Awareness, mindfulness, being present, how to be happy and fulfilled. Blog

The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.
~ Lao Tzu

Seek Meaning - Mindful Moment #2

If you want contentment and purpose, seek meaning.  Fun and pleasure are fleeting.  Meaning has the power to cohere an entire lifetime of activity.

If you want guidance and a path with heart, seek meaning.  Rules and formal structure are rigid, inflexible, and lifeless.  Meaning allows us to have a coherent theme, while spontaneously responding to the infinite possibilities around us.

In whatever you do, give your life meaning.  In the end, it is only meaning that we seek.

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Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living
Live a fulfilled life.  How to be happy. Find meaning.

Community - Getting Started

Life is fragile.  We are all susceptible to illness, to fear, and finally to death.  No one is exempt.  Often we think that we are alone in facing life's hurdles and challenges, so we feel inferior.  When we learn to see that we are all interconnected and share the same fate, we can learn to see that we are enough.   Deep understanding and compassion can help us to face and manage our fears.  

We don't have to feel inferior, weak, or alone.  Start with yourself.  Look deeply at your fears, hurts, and angers.  Understand your emotions and fears with compassion, then use this understanding to connect with others   

We do not need to be perfect or superhuman to live this life, but we should not try and face it alone.  With a community, we are enough.  We need not wait on someone else to choose us or to save us.  We all have the power within to start, to reach out, to build a community.  There are no valid excuses.

What will you do to ease the suffering in this world?  Will you start with yourself and look at your fears and wounds so that they may be healed?  Will you have compassion and forgive yourself for your mistakes?  Will you use compassion, understanding, and wisdom to transform fear into love?  Will you reach out to help someone or simply be there to share and understand their pain?  Will you swallow your pride and ask for help or compassion if you need it?  Will you share in what it really means to be human?

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living
How to be happy.

Decluttering is boring

I have to say it - I'm sick of reading about decluttering. "976 ways to declutter your home, declutter your kitchen, declutter your car, declutter your garage, the 30 day declutter challenge"..... How many times can someone write about such a boring subject?  Obviously a lot.  

I don't mean to pick on anyone, but decluttering is boring.  Yes, I've written about it and I'm a fan of doing it, but decluttering is a tool.  Minimalism is only a tool.  There is nothing romantic in depriving yourself or ridding yourself of everything except that it brings FREEDOM and DEPTH to your LIFE.  The FREEDOM is the goal.  In this instance I do not agree with the saying that the journey is the goal. Get rid of your shit so that you can enjoy life.  Stop making a game of decluttering.  Attachment to decluttering in no better than attachment to materialism.  Declutter you mind and let go of decluttering.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

Because You Can

Be kind,
Be happy,
Help others,
Be strong,
Do wonders,
Enjoy life.

Not for money,
Not because I want you to,
Not because you should,
Not because you need to,
Nor because it's expected,
Do it because you're human,
Because you have magical abilities,
Because you can.

"I believe in everything until it's disproved." ~ John Lennon

If you would like, check out my new photo blog My Apophenia.  I'll be posting pics almost daily.


Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

Kick the Dog or Not?

I awoke in somewhat of a foul mood this morning. A particular problem was on my mind.  The old me would have stewed in this state of negativity for most of the day.  I would have kicked my dog and cussed my wife - after all isn't it their fault my life is so miserable?

Right now, this moment I'm turning it around.  I'm going to do something positive with the situation.  I'm going to spend a large portion of my day learning new skills and improving my knowledge in order to solve this problem.  Then perhaps I'll spend a nice evening with my wife enjoying the sunset. I might even pet that miserable hound of mine and take him for a walk.

We can do this with our lives as a whole as well. We can ask, "Why did this have to happen to me?" Or we can ask, "What can I, with my skills, knowledge, and abilities, do to transform my life and how can I share my solutions with others to make their lives a little easier?"

When we see a successful person we can ask, "Why aren't I that lucky?"  Another option is to ask "With all of the opportunities to learn - through reading, watching, asking questions, and networking - what new skills could I add to my arsenal?"  "What value can I add to this world?"

I'm not just speaking of positive vs. negative thinking; I'm speaking of the words and actions emanating from your thoughts.  Will you change yourself?  Your life?  The lives of others?  

Positive or negative?  

Adding or subtracting?
Ultimately you are responsible, not the dog.  

“Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow.” ~ Seth Godin

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living
Making a difference, attitude, learning, Seth Godin, blog.

Remembering How to Be Happy

It's hard to be happy when you are stressed, resentful, or afraid.  We all go through periods of time where events in life make us feel one or more of these negative emotions.  When we experience these feelings for too long of a stretch, our brain establishes these emotions as a routine - it forgets how to be happy.

The first steps along the road to happiness are very simple.  You may have to force yourself at first.  If you are depressed, angry, or unhappy you can easily feel justified and become attached to these states.

  • Be grateful - about anything - your spouse, your home, your life, the sunrise, your dog, your job - it doesn't matter what, just be grateful for something.  Make it a practice to take a few moments every day and be grateful.  Establishing a practice of gratitude first thing in the morning and again just before bed time in the evening can be very effective.
  • Be generous - smile, forgive someone, give to charity, buy someone a cup of coffee, send someone a check in the mail ( for no reason ), offer your time.  Knowing that you have more than enough ( time, money, love, whatever) will help you to acknowledge and share in the abundance of the world around you.
  • Love yourself.  This one always sounds corny to me.  If it seems to cheesy or mushy to you, start off with loving life; you'll learn to love yourself later.  Fake it if you have to.  Tell yourself over and over - I LOVE LIFE!  I LOVE MY LIFE! It may take a lot of repetitions to re-wire your brain, but it will happen eventually.  The human mind is very malleable. 
  • Do something fun.  Think back to something that you once really enjoyed doing and DO IT!  Try doing it again.  Give yourself permission to have fun.
There are many things that you can do to be happy.  Below I've listed a few great resources, but for now, try  with the few steps above.  Establish these routines as habits - baby steps.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

Nothing New - 9 Posts to Share

I have nothing new to say at the moment.  I am practicing mindful living, working on fully awakening to life, and enjoying the beautiful summer weather.  I try not to post here unless I have something meaningful to share.  Today I'd just like to share what I feel are my most useful posts from the beginnings of this blog.

Almost Cut My Hair

The Problem with Problems

Middle-Aged Assholes

5 Ways Simplicity Allows You to Achieve More

5 Ways to Achieve Simplicity

Using the Power of Intention

Money and the Future

6 Steps for Building Strength

Proven Methods to Improve Your Happiness

Yes I know that 9 is an odd number but .....9 it is.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living
Best of Blog, Minimalism, Zen, Simplicity, Simple Living