Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Tag: Buddhism (Page 1 of 5)

12 Things You Cling To That Block Your Inner Peace

A guest post by Steve Waller.

Take a deep breath and try to hold it for as long as you can.

Go on… do it now.

The longer you go, the harder it becomes. Not only does it begin to hurt physically, you have to fight against your natural urge to release the breath; to let go.

A single breath, when held for too long, symbolizes one of the biggest psychological and spiritual challenges we face as beings of consciousness. It captures the desire almost all of us have to cling on to something for fear of losing it, even when it is to our own detriment.

In Buddhism, it’s known as upādāna which literally translates as fuel. This clinging is the fuel for dukkha, another Buddhist term that means suffering. So the more you cling to things, the more you fuel your own suffering.

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How to Overcome Restlessness in Meditation and in Life

We live in a speedy, restless age.  So much so that the constant agitation can change our physiology, causing us to be even more prone to edginess.  As a result, as much as we might desire it, trying to sit still for a few minutes of peace can feel like torture:

  • Your mind races with uncontrollable thoughts.
  • You can’t get comfortable.
  • You can’t sit still.
  • You notice every itch and minor discomfort.
  • You feel compelled to get up.
  • Your must-do list calls to you like a Siren.
  • You wonder, again and again, when your ten minutes will be over.
  • You feel anxious, excited, distressed or overcome by other emotions.
  • You try too hard and then feel more stressed.
  • You begin to judge yourself for your restlessness.

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What Does It Mean to Be a Spiritual Warrior?

What does it mean to be a spiritual warrior?

My last article on how to accept yourself, no matter what struck a chord for many people, even those who’ve been working on themselves for years.

Why is that?  I believe we live in a wounding culture, in which a child’s basic needs for love, connection, and affirmation often go unmet leading.  This can lead to a lack of self-acceptance that remains even as an adult.

As a young girl, I remember picking the petals off a flower one-by-one while saying to myself, “They love me. They love me not.”  I fantasized about being kidnapped or falling ill, hoping a catastropic event would make my parents take notice of me.  Most of the time, I felt isolated, in my own little world.

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The Buddha’s Essential Guide to Happiness

The Buddha's Essential Guide to Happiness

When people say “Buddha” or “the Buddha,” they usually mean Shakyamuni Buddha, Gautama Siddhartha, who lived during the 6th century B.C., and taught the spiritual path now called “Buddhism.”

You don’t have to become a Buddhist, however, to benefit from the essential teachings of the Buddha because they are universal in nature.  Moreover, they remain highly relevant to successfully navigating modern life and finding the deeper sense of happiness and contentment you so deserve.

The Buddha didn’t fabricate Buddhism.  Compelled by his wish to understand suffering, he simply observed the way the mind works and how the world functions.  He then shared his observations with others who also sought freedom from constant frustration.  The Buddha’s observations therefore are meant to apply to everyone and everything, not just Buddhists or Asian reality.

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What Does Renunciation Really Mean?

What would it be like if you renounced your negative thinking patterns and unhealthy emotional stories? Imagine living fully with ever-expanding insight, awareness, and compassion.

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. – Annie Dillard

I sometimes wonder if I’m wasting my time and thus wasting my life.  My spiritual tradition highlights inspiring tales of renunciants, individuals who have spent multiple years, even decades, in retreat from the ordinary world.

These are not just stories from by-gone days.  One of my teachers, a New York Times best-selling author, recently returned from four years as a wandering yogi, moving about in India with no money or permanent shelter as well as meditating in caves in the Himalayan region.

Considering these influences, I sometimes feel I too should withdraw from the world.  I’ve come to see, however, the drawbacks of tormenting myself with “I should.” Chewing the same “should” over and over again is hardly letting go and certainly not the practice of mindfulness or presence.

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How I Became a Buddhist and What It Really Means

Natural Bridges, Santa Cruz

Natural Bridges, Santa Cruz

Editor’s Note:  I wrote this post for my readers who – in my recent reader survey – said they’re curious about Buddhism.  But really, it’s about the peace, compassion, and wisdom we all so deserve.

When I was in my mid-twenties, my housemate went to see a psychic.  Suprisingly, the psychic began speaking about me, the young woman who drank and smoked too much.  She predicted I would either meet a spiritual teacher or cross over in my early thirties.  That means die, in case it’s not clear.

I found this strange and spooky and largely put it out of mind.  I wasn’t spiritually inclined at the time so the possibility of becoming so seemed unlikely.  I started to drink less, but not because of the prediction.  Alcohol soothed my frazzled emotions and helped me to relax.  But I knew it wasn’t healthy or helpful on the long run.  It would be a long time before I gave up smoking, but I continued to breathe and walk on this earth, nevertheless.

At the time, I lived by the sea in Santa Cruz, California, magnet to surfers, valley girls, tourists and alternative lifestyle seekers.  The town and surrounding areas hosted a panoply of spiritual culture from WICCA covens to the Mt. Madonna Center, where the main yoga teacher had been silent for more than 20 years and communicated by writing on a small chalkboard he wore around his neck.  (He’s brilliant, by the way.)

I never gave a second thought to any of this as I was busy running a non-profit that helped battered women.

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