• Quote of the Day
    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
    Nelson Mandela, posted by Daniel

AndPao

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Hi everyone,

I've been stuck in a rut recently, really struggling to change useless and negative thought patterns (currently I'm trying the "snap a rubber band against your wrist" method of breaking habits!).

Well, I was trying to think back to a time in my life when I was happy and at peace. I remembered that I had decided to look at things as though today was my last day on earth. It led me to think:

1) If you (and "you" could be anyone at all) were the last person on earth I would want the best possible relationship with you (therefore I will make efforts toward this and work to remove anything that causes suffering between us - I don't want to cause you pain)
2) I would expect nothing less from you (therefore I expect you to make similar efforts toward this - I don't want to spend my last day in pain either!)
3) If this was my last day, I should put right what needs to be put right and say what needs to be said.

I think there were other things this approach led me to consider. It made me want to relish each moment and really be with whoever I was with, because at that instant it and they were the only things that mattered. It also gave me courage and a reason to stand up for myself.

Someone pointed out to me that this approach could lead to hedonistic abandon, but I think the first two parts keep that in check :) And I hoped that by living by these guidelines I would always want another last day because the one that went before was pretty darned good!

On the whole, it was a happy time, so long as I kept it all at the forefront of my mind, but it all sort of fell away once dreary real life kicked in again :)

Anyway, what I was wondering was, have there been any studies that correlate the particular philosophies/world views that people live by with their levels of happiness and peace? Are there any clear winners? I'd love to hear people's views on this.

Thanks and best wishes to you all.
 

ladylore

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Thank you for sharing this with us Pao. I have been taught this kind of philosophy by more then one person. Its a Buddhist way of being in this world. I have also learned through the 12 step NA program.

When I am grounded I do this well, as I don't worry about the future, can clearly and gratefully focus on the present - as this moment is all we have, tomorrow doesn't exist yet. In this frame of mind I can fully live.

The flip side of that is when I am not grounded and in emotional turmoil - I can still focus that this is the only moment I have. But instead of feeling greatful I grab onto people, things as I may never see them again. A very uncomfortable place to be.

I much prefer the former and do my best to stay in that frame of mind.

I don't know of any studies that have been done - maybe someone else on here may know of something.

Oprah was dealing with the same topic today.

Ladylore
 

AndPao

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Feb 3, 2005
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Hi Ladylore and Daniel. Thanks very much for your replies. I will definitely check out that book. I didn't realise what I was describing was akin to Buddhism, so I will be looking into that a bit more, thanks.

There seem to be at least two points where this outlook can be difficult to maintain - firstly, in keeping these values at the forefront of your mind, and secondly, as you say, when you can keep in mind the importance of today, but it becomes tinged with anxiety and fear.

It's tricky, isn't it? As you say, Ladylore, when things are going ok, and you're feeling ok about yourself, this is much easier, almost natural. But if you hit a bad patch, it's much harder. Someone described the way my depression strikes me like this: I am like a car with faulty suspension. When the road is smooth, then things are hunky-dory. But a few minor bumps seem to take a disproportionate toll.

I do seem to recall reading about a Buddhist who was involved in diplomatic relations of some sort. He regularly meditated, and when he knew he was going to be facing a particularly tough day, he would allow more time for his meditation because he knew he would need it. I guess half the battle, then, is being able to step outside yourself a bit, and learning to recognise when things are getting bumpy. It's so easy to let a negative situation or mood slowly creep up on you, isn't it?

Thanks again for your comments. Lots of food for thought!

Best wishes.
 

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