Accentuate The Positive – Day 237 of 365 Days to a Better You

Some 2500 years ago the Buddha, as recorded in the Dhammapada, is said to have articulated the following.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts. (Verse 1)

Whatever harm an enemy may do to an enemy, or a hater to a hater, an ill-directed mind inflicts on oneself a greater harm. Neither mother, father, nor any other relative can do one greater good than one’s own well-directed mind. (Verses 42-43)

The Buddha’s meaning is quite clear. He was among the earliest to say something along the lines of, “You become what you think.” Then he goes further. He tells us that no outside force can do us as much harm or good as our own thoughts.

This begs the question, “Who controls your thoughts?”

That ought to be 100 percent of time Y-O-U.

The equation is simple from here. Badly as we might want to shift the blame to other people, God, or society; you control your thinking and your thinking dominates your life. I say dominates rather than controls because there are circumstantial exceptions, but not many.

So, what you’re feeling, what you’re attracting, where you’re stuck all follows a straight line back to your thinking. There’s just no way around it.

This isn’t a blame game. I’m not telling you this so you can feel worse about yourself or become defensive. I’m telling you this because your thinking has led you to where you are as surely as the earth follows the sun. If you want to change your circumstances, you will have to change your thinking.

It’s not a replacement for faith or a support system, but those can only help you when you’re thinking is leading the way forward.

Power hack: Accentuate the positive…eliminate the negative.

You may have heard the old 1940s sing titled Accentuate The Positive. The lyric goes, “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative…” It’s simple, but profound advice.

When you feel down, depressed, beaten, you can get stuck in an eddy of negativity and there seems like no way out. One negative thought follows another and you start buying into all of it.

When you’re feeling that way, you’ve megadose the positive. Force feed it. Flush out the negative with the positive. Let the sunshine dissipate the clouds. Don’t complain about the clouds. Summon the sunshine.

Easy? No, it’s hard. It sometimes takes every ounce of strength and you may feel oddly attached to your wallowing, but I assure you you can pull yourself out of that ditch when you understand your thoughts don’t just happen.

My wife shared something funny and inspiring today. She follows Rachel Hollis and she now has a tattoo that reads, “Embrace the suck.”

Sometimes we have to do hard things and it sucks. Climbing back to your best self when it’s easier to stay down is hard. But, you are a one-in-a-trillion miracle and totally with that effort.

You’re all the best! Thanks for stopping by and spending your valuable time with me!

Ray

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The Best Filter for Information Ever – Day 30 of 365 Days to a Better You

The best thought, decision, and information filter I’ve ever heard articulated

croissant-101636_640Today is already the 30th day of the year. Can you believe it? Back in late December, I suggested that you create a To-Be List for 2019. If you completed that activity back then, please take a few minutes today and review it. Are you on track with your To-Be goals? If you weren’t following back then, it’s not too late. You can still go back and do this. Click here if you want to review or learn more.

Let’s get on to the business of today. First, Happy National Croissant Day. If croissants are your thing, celebrate BIG!

Our world is awash in information. We’re all constantly drinking from a fire hose. Would you agree? This makes deep thought about the information and separating the important from the crap a challenge for all of us.

2500 years ago Siddhartha Gautama – known to history as the Buddha – was asked a question we might ask in our world today. His answer is a simple and profound strainer to help us separate the wheat from the chaff in our lives today. Here’s the story.

Thus have I heard. During a visit to the town of the Kalamas, the Buddha was asked a crucial question by the people of that place.

“Reverend Gautama, many teachers enter our midst teaching that their way and their way alone is the path to salvation. They extol the virtues of their own doctrines while tearing down the doctrines of other teachers. This creates doubt in our minds about all their teachings. For how are we to know which speaks the truth and which speaks falsehood?”

Buddha replied, “Kalamas, you have doubt in circumstances where doubt is understandable. Where doubt thrives uncertainty is born.” The Buddha proposed a test against which to measure any teaching including his own.

  • Do not believe something because it has been passed down and believed for many generations.
  • Do not believe something merely because it is a traditional practice.
  • Do not believe something because everyone believes it.
  • Do not believe something because it is written in a book and has been recited over and over.
  • Do not believe something solely on the grounds of logical reasoning.
  • Do not believe something because it fits your preconceived notions.
  • Do not believe something because you trust who is saying it.
  • Do not believe something only because your teacher says it is so.

“Kalamas, when you yourselves know directly something is unskillful, unwholesome, blameworthy, rejected by the wise, harmful to yourselves or others, leads to poverty or unhappiness of both yourself and others, you should give it up.”

“One the other hand, Kalamas, when you yourselves know directly that something is skilled, wholesome, blameless, praised by the wise, and leads to well-being, prosperity, and happiness of both yourself and others, you should accept it and practice it.”

The filter is you and your innate knowledge of what is beneficial to yourself and the world. We don’t see our leaders using a filter like that often. If it’s to be, it’s up to us. If you strain the news and information that comes your way each day with this filter, you’ll find yourself more aligned with your truth and THE truth.

Have and empowered day!

Ray

Are you into essential oils? Me too! I wrote an article about my favorite essential oils and how I use them. There’s also information about how you can join with me in promoting these amazing aids to our well-being.

 

Staying Happy in a Changing World

It’s our last morning in Palm Beach. The expectations of the trip were met and exceeded. April and I had every bit the experience we wanted. I’m sure, though, you’ve had that sinking feeling on “headed home day.”

How do we go from the amazing high of expectation to crashing deflation of vacation’s end? In Buddhism, impermanence is a large part of the discussion. One of Buddha’s great insights is that we are craving beings. We want things and experiences hoping they will fulfill us. They do temporarily, but there’s always that moment when we realize the feelings are passing.

Another of his insights is that we’re clinging beings. We try to grasp harder to keep the things, experiences, and people in our lives just as they are. Yet, in an ever-flowing universe, this is not possible.

So, we become suffering beings because the things we wanted didn’t bring us permanent joy and the grasping to them only made it worse.

What’s the solution? How do we having fulfilling experiences in our lives without feeling the suffering? We can learn to appreciate the ebbing and flowing moments of our lives without grasping on to them. We can find our joy in the only thing that is permanent – Change.

There are more things to have, experiences to experience, and moments to enjoy. In fact, as long as we’re here, they never stop.

Jon Kabat-Zinn has a great quote that captures this principle. “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

You don’t have to suffer. You just need to let go and catch the next wave.

Have an amazing Saturday!

Ray

 

Click on over to The Affirmation Spot for more great motivational content.

Poem: Ultimate Reality

There are many ways to view the deeper nature of the reality around us.

I wrote this poem in 1993, as one way of seeing that reality.

It expresses the sense of wholeness, devoid of our individual personalities, that underlies the nature of our existence.

It’s a bit existential with some Buddhist overtones. I hope you enjoy and that it makes you think.

“Ultimate Reality”

Cling not to what is fleeting
All is fleeting, therefore, cling not.
Matter and energy, time and space
Are but reflections in the void.

Desire nothing and everything shall you attain
Have everything and, in truth, nothing is yours.
For no holder is there and nothing held;
And nothing to hold, only unity.

I am but a process in gentle progress; simply
Inter-connected energy flowing in a manner
Created by what has come to pass,
Its interaction bringing forth the future.

No self may be found behind the process,
Only a conscious part of a greater whole
Moving back and forth as far as may be seen
Yet, verily, never having moved at all.

Copyright 1993 Ray Davis

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

For more great motivational content, please check out the TAS website and YouTube channel.

26 Buddhist Affirmations

Today’s Thought

“All that we are, is the result of what we have thought.”
~ Buddha

zen-509371_1280Siddartha Gautama, the man known to history as The Buddha, was born in Northern India (modern-day Nepal) in 563 B.C.E. He was a prince and the son of King Suddhodana and Queen Maya. The Buddha-to-be grew up in a world of privilege and seclusion from the suffering of the world.

This was ordered and ensured by his father after the prophets in his court told him that his son would either be a great king who would rule the world or a great world-savior. The prophet informed the king that his son would be the latter, if he was exposed to human suffering. The king did all in his power to prevent his son from exposure to anything that would interfere with his son becoming a great ruler.

While in his late 20s, Siddartha witnesses an old person, illness, and death for the first time in his life. He is greatly dismayed, realizing that he too was subject to these forces. Then he encounters a holy man and he immediately understands that if these terrible things exist in the world, there must be a way to overcome them. He decides to leave his princely life in search of a way to overcome these human difficulties.

After studying under a variety of teachers, Siddhartha attained enlightenment at the age of 35. He planted himself beneath a Bodhi Tree and vowed not to rise from the spot until he had discovered the ultimate truth.

The rest is history, as they say. 2500 years later 376 million human beings adhere to the Buddha’s Middle Way and The Noble Eightfold Path; making Buddhism the 4th largest “religion” in the world. However, if you include “cultural Buddhists” there are probably more Buddhists than any other religion on the planet. The Buddha himself is revered as a shining example of human potential, determination, and possibility. His practices and teachings are the basis for many relaxation, visualization, and self-improvement techniques.

Here are some affirmations for Buddhists and those interested in adopting a Buddhist approach in their life and thinking.

  1. Today I am happy. Today I am peaceful. Today I am free from suffering!
  2. Today and every  day, I am committed to my meditation practice.
  3. I practice Metta everywhere I go and in everything I do!
  4. Today my inner lotus blossoms, as I release attachments and turn my face to the sun.
  5. Today I find the pearls of my enlightenment scattered along my path.
  6. Today I seek enlightenment. Today I experience enlightenment. Today I am enlightened.
  7. Today I release my attachment to the transitory circumstances and appearances.
  8. The great teachers of the past showed me the way and today I am making the effort to follow their path.
  9. May I be happy. May I be peaceful. May I be free from suffering.
  10. Today I clearly see the beauty in a flower and my whole world changes.
  11. I am the very embodiment of love and compassion in all my interactions with others.
  12. I work diligently to make peace, love, and compassion my way of life.
  13. I take refuge in the Buddha. I take refuge in the Dharma. I take refuge in the Sangha.
  14. Nirvana is mine when I have the strength to choose it.
  15. Today I am practicing right view in all my thoughts, words, and actions.
  16. Today I am practicing right intention with all my thoughts, words, and actions.
  17. Today I am practicing right speech with every word I say.
  18. Today I am practicing right action with everything I do.
  19. Today I am practicing right livelihood in your job and in all your career choices.
  20. Today I am practicing right effort with all my thoughts, words, and actions.
  21. Today I am practicing right mindfulness with all my thoughts, words, and actions.
  22. Today I am achieving right concentration during my meditations.
  23. As love grows within me, my hatred goes away.
  24. Breathing in, I feel peace. Breathing out, I am peace.
  25. My world is what I make of it and I CHOOSE to make it a compassionate place to be!
  26. My path is peace. My mind is peace. My life is peace.

This list will continue to grow.  Please leave a comment offering suggestions for other areas of Buddhism where I could add affirmations.

Wishing you a day filled with loving-kindness and joy.

Ray

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