Discipline

If you can control your thoughts, you can control reality

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Indifference

To know what you can’t do anything about, and to be content with it as you would with fate – only a man of virtue can do that

Zhuangzi

Education

To accuse others for one’s own misfortunes is a sign of want of education; to accuse oneself shows that one’s education has begun; to accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one’s education is complete.

-Epictetus

Nature’s flow

I know I will die, and yet I have chosen to find happiness within this moment.

I now see that life and death are replacement words for change. Life is change and death is change. Leaves change color, fall off trees and begin shriveling up. We would be quick to call this process death. But what’s really happening is that the leaves are just changing form. They turn brown, begin drying out, crunch under an animal walking by, and begin mixing with the earth. Bonding with the dirt of the earth, the crunched leaves become part of organic matter which spouts new trees and new life.

All that’s really happening in this process is change; nothing is lost, and all matter is preserved and transformed. Now, after longing to know exactly what death presents me with, not knowing is okay with me. Why would I be fearful– if nature will just be changing the arrangement of atoms that make up my body?

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An Opportunity

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My home, Oregon. My destination was a lake, but I saw a chance to admire the river. I now realize that the lake was never my destination at all. If I am always fixated on an goal, on a fastidious direction in life, I am giving up the opportunity to find an even greater source of happiness, which can be found while in pursuit of a goal. When I arrive at my destination, I may be surprised to find that I focused so hard on an end which satisfies me only fleetingly. If I am content with the journey, I will never be dissatisfied upon reaching my goal.

Where to find good feeling

If I’m longing for more of anything… longing for attention, affection, relief from pain–I need to replace my longing with acceptance. Once I accept the moment, in its entirely, reality instantly becomes enough. I don’t need anything else. I don’t need continuous, indispensable reassurance from people, as hard as it is to realize this sometimes. Because sometimes it truly feels like I need it. Like I need a compliment or a I need recognition–and a burden of self-hatred is lifted when I receive these things. But once I become enveloped by the a moment of self-sufficiency, when simply being, existing, is a beautiful enough reality for me to marvel in, I no longer feel this need to take and grab whatever source of good feeling I can find.

I am ashamed to say  that sometimes I’ll do whatever it takes. And sometimes it takes a huge, pathetic effort. All I can do is continue practicing. I can continue taking a deep breath, acknowledging my surroundings, admiring the stillness and exercising control over my self-destructive thoughts.

On suffering

A man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefor the “size” of human suffering is absolutely relative.

-Viktor Frankl

Destructive thoughts

Sometimes I know the way I’m acting is not right. And at the same time, I feel extremely helpless because I don’t know how to change. My thoughts are buried too deep. I don’t know how to grab them and bring them to the surface, to analyze them and transform them. All I can feel is anxiety, jealousy, self-pity, anger, and sadness rising up inside my blood, getting warm, making my heart beat fast, making me want to cry.

These feelings overwhelm me so much that I momentarily cannot speak, and all I want to do is close up, run away, escape what is causing my chest to tighten up and my body to clamp, paralyzed. I am suddenly unable to focus on anything other than what was done/ said which made me feel this way. I try to distract myself, I try to clear my mind. I try to uproot my feelings and deconstruct them into their parts. I try to understand why I’m really feeling this way. Why I feel such paralyzing jealousy, such intense, relentless self-hatred. Why I don’t trust you, why I don’t trust anyone. I try so hard. But trying isn’t succeeding.