The Essence of Life Is Breathing

Remember back when we’re young, when we’re so full of energy and exuberant, that we never seem to out of breath? That’s right, we never ran out of breath. We used to breath correctly. We breathed correctly with our entire body.

So what happened to our breathing? Because of outter influence, stress, pressure, bad habits, we lost our ability to breath properly. We become upper chest breathers as we grow. We no longer breath properly and only breath JUST ENOUGH for survival. But we no longer breath enough to keep ourselves in optimum shape. There are plenty of articles out on the Internet that talks about WHY breathing properly is important. So I won’t re-invent or plagerize here.

I can speak of some effects of obtaining the skill. Your body can be more easily relaxed. You will feel more energized. It’ll help you tremendously in all sorts of exercises and activities. Your mind can be more sharp. The benefits are countless.

Deep breathing involve all the major parts of the torsal and facial mask, not just the chest. First you need to keep your nasal cavity opened, which requires the relaxing of the facial muscle in that area. You will feel they are kind of “lifted” when done correctly. Then you need to learn how to breath with the diaphragm. One tip is to focus on a point that’s 2-3 inch below the belly button toward the back. Take in air deep pushing diaphragm downward, feeling the sensation and focusing at the focal point. You will notice expanding of the rib cage and the belly. And finally, the chest can expand slightly to take in more air, but no raising the shoulders. The whole process of breathing in and out should take a lot longer than only upper chest breathing (heaving). It will take discipline to make it into a habit. However, it’s a truly refreshing habit to have.

Give it a try.

Originally posted 2007-03-07 00:48:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Having a Calm and Still Mind

What is the most important attribute that will get us through any situation in best ways possible?

Over time, I have come to reach the answer of the question, and that is composure. I will relate the answer to Zen/Buddhism’s promotion of finding the stillness in mind, a imperturbable sense of calmness through continuous self-examination and self-discovery. Just a reminder that I am not preaching philosohy or religion, instead, I am stating something that has worked well for me and I believe in now.

I can still feel angry, disappointed, sad, happy, estatic, but I have come to realize that whatever emotions and feelings I may get, there is a stillness in my mind that can be kept. My mind is a part of my entity. Those emotions are not. And with a calm mind, I can maintain my awareness, assess the situation, and come up with the best way to respond or to handle those emotions. Some simple examples (taken from my personal experience):

  • If you play basketball for a long time, fatigue starts to build up and your shots are becoming more inaccurate and your body becomes less coordinated, would it do you any good to fret and get scared to take shots?
  • If you are a singer, half way into a song, gone over the most difficult part, and all the singing muscle becomes really tense, would it do you any good to panic and start thinking about not hitting the right pitch?
  • If you are to present in front of some very important individuals, in school or at work, would it do you any good to get so nervous and studder through the presentation?

As smart as you all are :) the apparent answer to all those are, “No, it is best for us to remain as calm as possible in order to make it through the situation with best possible performance.” I am not saying we should never be nervous because that is not possible, as I get nervous myself too! But staying calm and keeping a still mind will allow us to deal out the best cards we can at those moments, albeit subpar. It could only be worse if you get nervous, panic, and have a mental break-down.

In other words, there is no reason for us to fret or panic about anything. The only thing panicing will do for us is to make matters worse. Even if the situation is desperate, dire, and nothing can be done to help, we can reason that everything will come to pass in life, which is the truth. Why should we panic, fret, and worry ourselves to death? Just aim and do our best possible with support of a calm and still mind.

The quote provides the most suitable description of what I just mentioned:

“When the mind begins to become still, we then begin to truly see it. When you first try to stabilize and pacify the mind, initially it will become very busy because it’s not accustomed to being still. In fact, it doesn’t even necessarily want to become still, but it is essential to get a hold of the mind to recognize its nature. This practice is extremely important. … Eventually you will find yourself in a state where your mind is clear and open all the time. It is just like when the clouds are removed from the sky and the sun can clearly be seen, shining all the time. This is coming close to the state of liberation, liberation from all traces of suffering. … The truth of this practice is universal. It isn’t necessary to call it a religion to practice it. Whether one is a Hindu or a Moslem or a Christian or a Buddhist simply doesn’t matter. Anyone can practice this because this is the nature of the mind, the nature of everyone’s mind. If you can get a handle on your mind, and pacify it in this way, you will definitely experience these results, and you will see them in your daily life situation. There is no need to put this into any kind of category, any kind of “ism.” Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche

So remember, you can be nervous, you can be angry, you can be overjoyed, but maintain a still mind that will help you get through any situation the best way possible.

Originally posted 2007-04-25 23:17:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

I Suck at Giving Advice

I guess it has been a long since I wrote anything that’s personal so here’s a tid bit today just for fun.

My good friend D was accusing me of being not very good at making myself known or heard. Yes, I said. So maybe I should not use the word accusing, but on the other hand, I behave my way not because I don’t want to be known or heard.

Here’s what I do if I shall ever feel enticed or am asked to give advice or suggestion.

— I will say it once.
— I will repeat it.
— I will not say it thrice, unless the other person changes his attitude and shows a damn good display of genuine interest as to why I say what I did, which never happens.

Two things are apparent by the time I said the same thing twice (perhaps paraphrased and presented differently).
— My idea is simply out of the person’s grasp at that moment in time.
— The other person simply does not agree and/or wants to hear what I have to say.

Now the real reason to not repeat myself thrice is this — Let fools persist in their folly and they may become wise.

In other words, let people make mistakes and hopefully they will learn. And because we know that people often DON’T learn from their mistakes, sometimes the necessary evil is, to trick and nudge people into making more mistakes and hopefully they will learn… eventually.

Or in martial arts term, instead of directly resisting an opponent’s attack, one redirects the opponent’s force against himself.

Therefore sometimes, instead of saying what I want to say or what I had said, I instead advise the person simply with what he wants to hear.

Applying this idea in a grandiose scale, we — some humans? — may just have the responsibility to nudge the human civilization into further catastrophe before we will ever learn. Learn about what? Eh, maybe another’s day topic.

And I end my post today promoting — MORE consumption, MORE easy credit, MORE oil drilling, MORE technology, MORE medical drugs, MORE wars, More MOre MOrE~~~~!

Originally posted 2010-06-02 23:54:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Enjoying the Present and Saving for Later

There is the argument that we should lay it down and stop worrying so much about the future in order to live it up “now.”

However, when people say that, they often say it in the effect that enjoying the present and saving for later are mutually exclusive. Sometimes people are full of crap. Let me correct myself, sometimes is incorrect, it should be often time.

I believe you can do both. It is a matter of juggling and making choices. You may have to make sacrifice and compromise here and there in the now in order to make progress with both. It comes down to knowing yourself and deciding the important things in your life. People need to spend time to think about these — what do you know about yourself and the important things in your life?

And when you think, you need to think beyond the limit of their “norms”, and these norms include years of experience performing the same patterns of action, cultural background, religion, familial influence, peer pressure… And this is where real learning needs to take place. Being aware in everyday experience. Observing the world and the people around them. Seeing the cause and effect. Reading lots of books.

Back to the topic of enjoying the present and saving for later… I think people misconceive consciously or subconsciously that saving connotes pain and suffering. This is due to the consumeristic nature of our society. They got conditioned by advertising and then by power of the peers to have the if-you-don’t-spend-money-to-get-things-now-you-are-not-having-a-good-time mentality. Or the oh-woe-be-me-if-I-don’t-own-these-certain-things mentality. I did say “conditioned”, but people themselves have partial responsibility that they allow themselves be conditioned. They follow instructions because it is easier. Once again, people are not thinking critically for themselves.

And why does enjoying the present now usually mean you have to spend a butt load of money anyways? Yes, trips may cost quite a bit but you are not doing trips everyday I assume. There are many simple things to appreciate. There are a multitude of activities with minimal costs that provide enjoyable experience. People overlook those things. They lack awareness in life. Are you always looking for things to buy to feel excited? Do you often feel bored when you are not doing something? Do you have to have “this” (things or experience) to feel satisfied? I think those are all symptoms of the same — lack of awareness.

And we can also talk about people succumbing to the idea of standard of living. As age progresses, people have adopted so many what used to be luxurious and extravagant things into requirements as the “supposed” standard of living. What is this standard of living anyways? And what is normal? Perhaps they need to be more abnormal and start creating their own version of standard of living, instead of letting themselves fall into this bucket of people deemed normal. They are letting this normal defines them. And note, I am not saying you cannot having normal things and act the norm, just that you are to think for yourself and make the choice to do so. You align your decisions with your priorities in life. You define your normal.

I dare say that most people who have or had debt problems fall into one of the last 3 conditions. You may think the causes should be more complicated than those, and that would be fine. But I prefer to break things down to their bottom lines. I will leave the analysis of the complex human nature to the experts, or the “experts”, and I will continue to keep things simple. Though remember, simple does not mean easy.

Originally posted 2008-08-16 01:31:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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