Month: March 2014

Pivot Points

Pivot PointsIMG_1730

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When I think of a pivot point in life, I think of a concentrated moment during which everything changed, and new horizons opened up for me. One recent pivot point for me was meeting one of my mentors in an academic course in 2013. This chance meeting with Professor Vel Pavlov, of Excelsior University changed my life, and accelerated my journey into information security.

I believe in the growth-path of any great individual, company, or project there are always a few inflection points (opportunities) which come along (this is true of life as well I believe,) we don’t get allot of these in life, yet it’s training ourselves to know when these “moments” have arrived, and taking advantage of them that allows us to prosper and grow. This is a key take-away from years of academic, life, and business training.

We all need a bit (or more than a little) of LUCK! We have to be on the lookout for our points of rapid expansion and then pivot on these. I have worked hard, and sometimes I wonder at the same time, if destiny plays a part (karma?).

I need to be happy if nothing comes of my efforts, but continue to strive while I am alive to grow, and enjoy my journey.

Building strong emotional experiences/connections, and bonds is very important. I believe that people embed the strong experiences they have (both bad and good,) into their deepest areas of mind and body. In a sense we can program ourselves for the journey ahead.

I also wonder if pacing applies to life building, and developing the platforms in our lives where we try to do what we are driven to accomplish. So often, steady on-going efforts build an audience of life connections over time. With that said; luck, timing, and being in the right place at the right time matter too.

I always wonder why some people work so hard in life, and seem to get no one where; while others appear to work not as hard, get a lucky break and BOOM their famous, rich and get there. Maybe karma plays a part. Yet in the end it’s what’s inside us that we take with us when this dream of a life is over that matters. Everything worldly, has a shelf life…

My friend said it best: “write for the pure joy of creating, writing, and expression.” This way if you end up having a day job your whole life you’ll still be happy which in the end is a good goal! While my friend was referring to writing, this could apply to life in general as well. This thinking could apply to almost any area of human activity.

I learned I should never under estimate where a new connection, or development idea may come from.

The next step is only a thought away.

May we all experience happiness on our individual, and collective journeys in the world together.

Chris

Is Risk Always Bad?

IMG_1871Is Risk Always Bad?

There is the notion that if something is “Risky” this means it’s bad. I have found this is not always the case, and in fact sometimes a calculated risk can be a good thing.

I believe we all need to start looking on risk as something we can potentially use to our advantage, and to grow. Being an Information Technology professional with decades of experience, and the creators of one of the first “Electronic Bulletin Board Systems” in the early 90’s (it was called the Red Phone,) I of course understand the concept of assessing and protecting against harmful risks, but at the same time we have all have had the experience of trying something new, taking an uncomfortable risk, and experiencing something we totally were not expecting in a good way.

How can we use risk in a beneficial way? I think by asking ourselves a couple of simple questions:

  • Does the risk have the potential to cause us great harm?
  • What are the potential benefits of the risk in question?
  • What could we stand to gain by taking the potential “calculated risk”
  • What is the emotion we associate with the risk (i.e. fear, anger, anxiety,) and also where do we feel this emotion?

Sometimes I have found that it was a simple, and unjustified fear which kept me from trying something new, taking a risk, doing something which was uncomfortable yet, beneficial.

Don’t ever let fear stop you! Most of the times growth is uncomfortable, fearful, and risky.

So be fearless in trying new things, and seeking to use risk to your advantage.

 

Christopher

How I lost 40 pounds and kept it off for 14 years!

How I lost 40 pounds and kept it off for 14 years!

The journey started 14 years ago, it was the fall of 2000, and many lifetimes ago. One day I was sitting with my dad, and he said I didn’t look healthy. He mentioned he was concerned in the way fathers do. Also I realized I was not getting any younger, and I needed to do something about my health.

This was the time in my life I was destined to learn about the Tao. I had met my Buddhist life teacher that same year, and now I was about to embark on another journey; the journey back to health. I learned allot in a wonderful book by, Denial Reid, The Tao Of Health, Sex and Longevity. The book discussed deep breathing, Taoist principles and exercises, I can’t recommend this book enough. In the book it discussed one core belief which I have lived by the last 14 years, and has allowed me to go from 200 pounds to 160 and stay there all this time: it’s called food combinations. The way it works is that I only eat carbohydrates & veggies, meat & veggies, or fruit, and sweets always by themselves. I can’t really do justice to the deep dive in the book on this topic calledTrophology,” which I recommend you buy and read. Here is a direct quotation from this wonderful book:

“Trophology: The Science of Food Combining Compared to Taoist concepts of balance, the Western notion of a ‘balanced diet’ is simplistic and superficial. Western physicians advise everyone to take ‘a little of everything at every meal,’ jumbling together such disparate ingredients as meat, milk, starch, fat and sugar. Such indiscriminate consumption of food is no different than pouring a combination of gas, oil, alcohol and sugar into the gas tank of a car. These blends will not burn efficiently, will provide little power and will quickly clog up the engine so badly that the entire system grinds to a halt. The advice given in the quote at the beginning of this chapter, from a book presented to the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty on the occasion of the author’s 100th birthday, clearly reflects the fact that the ancient Chinese were well aware of the importance of the science of food combining. This wisdom was once known to the West as well, as evidenced by Moses’ strict regulation that meat and milk must never be consumed at the same meal.” (Reid, Daniel, 2011-03-08, pp. 58-59).

More than weight loss, I found that eating a diet in this manner helps my body be more comfortable in all the areas you can imagine you might be uncomfortable related to food.

I believe low carb diets work for this reason, yet at the same time I believe extremes in general in life do not work, and we always come back to the middle (by choice or by force.)

I am happy to share my personal experiences further with anyone interested.

Also check out my prior post on “THREE BOOKS I LOVE”book #2

Here’s to a juicy steak, and vegetables (no potatoes for me please).

Christopher

References:

(Reid, Daniel (2011-03-08). The Tao Of Health, Sex and Longevity (Fireside Books (Fireside)) (pp. 58-59). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I’m sort of confused about the idea of detachment in Buddhism?

This week we present a guest blogger, my Buddhist teacher. The format is a question, and answer by him. I hope you enjoy it.Buddha Red

(Question) I’m sort of confused about the idea of detachment in Buddhism?

What does it mean to be detached in a Buddhist sense?

To me, it means you don’t care about anything, but if that were true of Buddhism, it would be pointless to care about reaching enlightenment or helping others to end their suffering.

Does it just mean that you don’t love any one thing or person more than anything else?

I don’t know if I could get used to that idea. The only things I really care about are my pets, and I don’t know if I could just not love them anymore…

So, could anyone help me out with this?

(Answer by stbb)

What causes you to be happy or unhappy?  We human beings mistakenly think to get things is the cause of all happiness; so we spend 95% of our life, time and efforts to get what we think will give us happiness, the remaining 5% maybe used to take care our survival needs, like going to bathroom, drinking liquid, eating food and sleep.

To understand what happiness is we must examine what is the Nature of Suffering? Not the other way around! Unlike another answerer, he seems to have read Buddhism books, yet he didn’t fully understand the true teaching or theories of Buddhism. He assumes Buddhism is the teaching of understanding Suffering, and therefore he assumes that happiness is an illusion.

We must understand the Nature of Suffering is not our main concern; rather it is the byproduct of our activities in pursuing the happiness. It is true, most people confuse getting their desires fulfilled as happiness; if that is the case then this mundane happiness is truly an illusion as this answerer said. But the happiness in Buddhism I am talking about is, “Nirvana is Happiness”; the ultimate happiness that is every bit real, therefore the pursuing of Happiness is the ultimate teaching in Buddhism.

Whereas some people dwell in getting their mundane desires fulfilled, and then they are disappointed when they failed and can’t have their cake and eat it too; they get distraught, bent out of shape, become upset and unhappy, then this is truly suffering for them. So therefore we must learn to be detached from the outcomes of the activities of getting our desires fulfilled.

Many things we hold dear to our heart in this Samsara world are love, friendship, companionship, money, wealth, cars and houses,… etc.; but they are merely illusions of this life. You may have all of the above as your processions for a while, or for a long time, or even for the rest of your life; but in the end there is nothing you truly gain or can truly hold on to for eternity, as all things are impermanent.

You will die, your wealth can be lost, and your lover can fall out of love with you, your body and all things materials will fall apart. When you die, all things you posses will left behind, nothing you have can be taken with you. In the final end, what is there for you? And what is truly everlasting?

For most, obtaining things are happiness and losing things are suffering; as humans we get some and we lose some. If we have the attitude of detachment; if we can get what we want we can be happy and enjoy them; or if we lost them we might be upset for a bit but it won’t cause extreme Suffering.

Therefore Buddhism teachings suggest that we carry out our life with the attitude of detachment; then we won’t be extremely upset when we experience pain and suffering; and if we do get what we want, we won’t be overly exuberant and develop fear of losing what we have obtained, which then would turn into a type of suffering again.

How do we develop detachment, an attitude of Non- attachment? First we need to examine what is the motive of why we need something, or why do we want it so dearly; then we analyze do we really need it badly or it was just a momentarily passion? After a logical analysis we may come to a conclusion that a particular attachment is an unnecessary passion of our needy mind, and we can logically write it off and cross off the attachment. The attachment to that particular passion will fade like last year’s rose. This process is by logical deduction in Buddhism.

Any other way is more difficult for book Buddhists, and that is where you need training in real practices of meditation and Vajrayana Yoga’s, which cannot be done without a teacher. As we practice we come to realization of impermanence, all material and solid things fade into nothingness, so do our wrongful passions and attachments. In time you come to realize the 4 Noble Truths; then realizing the urgency of limited time in our life and what we can do to leave a mark or to obtain a permanence is more important than a trivial passions and attachments

My Personal Reflections

I’ve been working on an eBook based on a PDF “The Top Ten Ways to be Happy Today!,” which I am developing with my teacher. Point number one is: All I have is the moment (The moment is the only thing that counts. I take time each day to just be in the moment.) Over attachment to outcomes which I still suffer from I find pulls me out of the moment, and I meditate daily to work in exercising the letting go muscles. I’m happy to share the free PDF which my upcoming book is based. Anyone who signs up for the newsletter can request it for FREE!

As always I look forward to receiving feedback and developing constructive dialogs,

Chris