There is No "Good" or "Bad" without Us

I just finished reading Ryan Holiday's book, The Obstacle is the Way, and he says that, "There is no good or bad without us. There is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means." One of his main points is that we waste too much time applying judgments to what has happened to us and to things we can't control (the event has already happened), when it would be far more useful and productive to focus on what is immediately in front of us and how we want to respond to the event in a way that is more productive and creates more happiness/peace (or at least doesn't compound suffering). Ryan reminds us that, "We choose how we'll look at things. We

Living with Intention and Meditations

Following impermanence and interconnection, the third "I" teaching we received at Plum Village was about living our lives with intention. Basically, we were reminded that every action we take has a reaction that creates either more peace or suffering (for ourselves and/or others). The teaching was timely and really resonated with me because I had been reflecting on the idea that everything I choose to do (or not do) today and in each moment, impacts my future. Wearing sunblock today prevents wrinkles and skin cancer in my future. The way I eat and exercise today determines my future physical and mental health. EACH MOMENT MATTERS. Each thing we do and say every day compounds and creates who

Inter-connection and Mindful Eating

The second teaching we received at Plum Village on interconnection/interbeing is the idea that everything is made up of everything else. Everything that happens is caused by and is a cause of some other thing/event (law of cause and effect). Sometimes we are the snake (eating the frog for our nourishment), and other times we are the frog (sacrificing ourselves for the nourishment of others). One of the best ways to understand interconnection is to think about the food we eat and all the efforts and elements that must work together for us to get food onto our plates -- starting with the environment (i.e., sun, water) that nourished the plants to grow, the farmers that cultivated the crops, th

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