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Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional

A New Approach to Finding Happiness

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sonimacom/a-new-approach-to-finding_b_8192096.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS+for+the+Soul

“Ultimately, happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions and the discomfort of being ruled by them.” — Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Never before in history have so many believed that they “should” be happy. Our Western, post-Enlightenment era sees happiness as a matter of individual choice and effort. If you are not happy, then you simply need to work harder to amass more — more wealth, more beauty, more achievement, even more spirituality. Contrast our view with that of Ancient Greece, where well-being was seen as the result of luck and favorable fortune from the gods; or the Aristotelian schools, where well-being was seen to consist primarily in virtuous action; or the Eastern traditions, where well-being resides in transcending the illusion of a separate self, and we see that our current belief in happiness as the ultimate in human well-being is not consistent with past formulations. The question emerges: Is our current Western understanding and quest for happiness harmful?

Our cultural spirit of personal responsibility combined with the assumption that happiness should be the natural human state has devastating fallout: Many individuals fear painful emotions like a sickness. Brené Brown, Ph.D., a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, posits that one of the main reasons we are the most medicated, obese, depressed cohort ever to go through history is because we turn to addictive behaviors to numb what we think is “wrong.” While clinical depression is a serious condition that deserves appropriate treatment, far too many Americans spend their lives in the tireless pursuit for a better life free of discomfort, haunted by insidious dissatisfaction and a desire for something they can’t quite name (Weil, 2011). Yet, echoed throughout the ages in Greek, Christian, and Eastern philosophy, pain is understood as an inevitable part of life and growth.

Consider the concept of Greek tragedy, a form of entertainment specifically designed to bring individuals together around human suffering to invoke group catharsis. Perhaps giving up our myopic pursuit of happiness to celebrate the inevitable unpredictability of human life and the full spectrum of human emotion is the first step toward a flourishing society.

As a meditation teacher, the most important aspect of my work is teaching individuals how to relate to their painful emotions and inadequacies with kindness, rather than trying to “fix” or get rid of them. The relief students experience when they learn their feelings of loneliness and angst are perfectly normal, the result of a brain evolved for survival, not happiness, is life-changing. Freed from the shame incurred by believing they are somehow uniquely flawed, they can then move from isolation to connection and from self-condemnation to self-acceptance.

An Emotional Orientation of Acceptance
Spiritual and contemplative concepts such as “letting go” and “acceptance” highlight an important corrective for the Western understanding of well-being. While many spiritual traditions celebrate yielding to a something greater than the self, the Buddhist perspective is particularly suited for Western psychology because of the dominant focus on the nature of mind and self. Over the past two decades, the exchange of ideas between Buddhism, psychology, and neuroscience have broadened our understanding of well-being, leading to new ways of treating mental disorders, for example Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, as well as maximizing the human potential for self-regulation and positivity.

A primary teaching in Buddhism is that while pain is inevitable (loved ones will get sick, we will age, and mortality is our final destination), suffering is optional. Suffering arises from resisting the aspects of our lives and ourselves that are beyond our control. Chris Germer, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Arlington, Massachusetts, demonstrates the point with a simple equation: suffering = pain x resistance. An understanding of human happiness that incorporates the language of acceptance is likely the most potent resource for handling the aspects of our lives and ourselves that we cannot change. To use the metaphor of a garden, before we can flourish, we must fertilize the soil with an emotional orientation of acceptance that can hold our fundamental human insufficiency and imperfection.

While compassion for the self has been discussed in Eastern traditions for centuries, the concept is new to Western psychology. Kristin Neff, Ph.D., a professor in human development and culture at the University of Texas at Austin, recently defined the construct of self-compassion as “being open to and moved by one’s own suffering, experiencing feelings of caring and kindness toward oneself, taking an understanding, nonjudgmental attitude toward one’s inadequacies and failures, and recognizing one’s experience is part of the common human experience.” Excitingly, a growing body of research demonstrates that self-compassion powerfully enhances psychological well-being, resilience, and motivation. Furthermore, developing a more compassionate relational stance towards the self powerfully affects the brain and nervous system to enhance self-regulation. Seemingly counterintuitive, relating to our human imperfection with warmth and acceptance, as opposed to criticism and control, actually improves our ability to move toward the lives we want for ourselves and flourish.

As anxiety and depression continue to rise in the Western world, the time has come to seriously examine our expectation for a pain-free, perfect life in the pursuit of happiness. Over 40 years ago, humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow stated that ”the great cause of much psychological illness is the fear of oneself — of one’s emotions, impulses, memories, capacities, potentialities.” He encouraged self-understanding as a means to cultivate what he called “B-perception,” a nonjudgmental, forgiving, loving awareness of our whole Being”(Maslow, 1968). Today, the concept of self-compassion echoes Maslow’s call. The time is now. Instead of striving for the illusive state of happiness, lets choose to get honest about what it really means to be human; come together in dialogue about the inevitable darkness; and turn toward ourselves and each other with kind understanding. Instead of striving for happiness, let’s cultivate a mindful presence that can hold the entirety of our experience, the joys and the sorrows, the beauty and the terror.

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尽人事

尽人事,听天命。

这是中学老师经常说的一句话。

今天在公司里听到的消息,让人觉得不可思议、恼怒。

我尽所能,但遇不到我期待的结果。怎么办呢?

然后就有了这一句。

提醒我,尽人事,听天命。

也是在听歌的时候,好像突然明白人生是怎么一回事。

就是要告别的。

我好像知道了以后,反而不抗拒了。有一种释然。

原来很多东西都不是理解的,是知道,意会。

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32 months

宝贝

22/9/2015

我好爱你,不知不觉,你已经32个月大了!

昨天还让你看你小时候的照片,从一出生爸爸抱着你,到8个月大的胖娃。时间过这么快,过了那么多。

皓皓似乎是肚子不适,病了,发高烧,直达39.8摄氏度。而且出生到现在,第一次不断腹泻。甚至半夜也起来拉肚子。

这一天,又要给皓皓理发了!他必须家伙都到齐,不然不能好好地让爸爸理发。

 

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但效果超好的!可爱极了。

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请他吃棒棒糖,诱他念唐诗。

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他喜欢这么趴在我的身上

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睡前玩枕头,小小的东西但就是很好玩。小瓜不亦乐乎!

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这一天睡前,皓皓说:“mommy,你很美。我喜欢你的全部”

好讶异!那是孩子会说的话吗?怎么像是大人一样?

在我最累的时候,是皓皓沁芝给我最大的安慰,只是和两个小瓜在一起,却是那么那么重要的一件事。

简单如看他“煮菜”、浇水

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在我最累的时候,皓皓吵着要下楼,于是带他去散步,

结果我自己也在散步中获得解脱了。

简单如看他伸出手去触碰花,简单如和他一起吹风,简单如跟他一起散步

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好喜欢看皓皓和沁芝的互动。

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皓皓最近喜欢上playdoh,喜欢看他在地上玩,很接地气

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他说gugu bird痒痒。

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学校假期,带沁芝皓皓去逛逛。

小瓜看到电动车,总是把持不住自己做。

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然后吃冰淇淋!很开心!daddy每次看皓皓吃冰淇淋,总是说,皓皓是非洲来的。

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然后想去看Inside Out,带了沁芝皓皓去。有点担心小瓜会不会适应电影院,结果皓皓进去听歌,5分钟之后就睡着,我抱着,直到他撒尿弄湿自己才起来,那时,电影已经快完了。但我会记得。抱着皓皓看Inside Out,还有他的热热的尿弄湿我的衣服裤子那种热度。

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然后玩气球,跨越整个商场,也是很快乐的事情。从皓皓抱着气球的感觉可以看出,对气球的渴望。他是多么想玩。

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皓皓会自己想玩的,比如在斜坡上玩他的车。

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隔天去吃鼎泰丰, 小瓜一定是饿了。吃得很急促。

 

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再回到pasir ris度假,吵着姐姐要带他们出去玩。dandelyn、davina姐姐就和阿姨婆婆带两个小瓜去ntuc,然后买了hor fun回来,两个小瓜分享一包,还吃的不够。

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这一天,daddy把两部车子绑在一起,让两个小瓜玩点不同的。

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皓皓开始喜欢玩煮炒,炒鸡饭河粉。我想到什么都让他炒!

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皓皓就是喜欢欺负姐姐。但说真的,又舍不得姐姐难过。姐姐难过的时候,皓皓也会跟着哭起来。

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这一天是daddy mommy结婚的纪念日。9月20日。去吃小瓜爱吃的鼎泰丰。

皓皓习惯性玩餐具。

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姐姐非常疼爱皓皓,只要是皓皓要的,姐姐说什么都会尽量满足皓皓

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结婚纪念日当然要吃蛋糕!结婚7年,有了两个小瓜,日子很忙碌但也很丰富。

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过后就想平常一样去超市,小瓜老爱这样:(

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宝贝很喜欢亲我,他说是喜欢我:)

 

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这是爸爸买给皓皓的玩具车

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宝贝,祝福你

健康、平安 、快乐

 

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We are just a marble, rolling around the solar system

These are collections of my thoughts in these few days

1.we are but a rolling marble

a great video helping to depict the scale of things.

one qns put to a man was, why are u here? and the man replied:”because i m out of a job”

it set me thinking.

you do the best things when u r out of a job/the best thing can only happen to u when u are out of a job.

i could go out on an experiment on that hypothesis, and see if its true for myself, just like how these men have tried to put thing in scale.

2. F1 season

its F1 season in SG and the haze miraculously disappeared.

when the F1 drivers drive, and at a speed of 300km/h or more, they drive not by seeing but by memory , but intuition , by feeling.

not thinking.

this got me thinking.

in life, we think too much. we allow our thinking mind to take precedence over feelings, we rather place an emphasis on rationality. but when it comes to the most important things in life, we always go by feelings or intuition.

if that is the case, why don’t we allow more intuitive thoughts, more feelings into our life?

why can’t we just allow?

its just instinct.

the way i write what i write, the way daddy controls planes, the way F1 drivers drive, the way chefs cook.

so life should be about coming back to our instinct.

we should allow that to surface and work on and for our lives.

3. getting sick

i have been getting a lot of tummy disturbances of late and it has affected my back.

then i got a sore throat and fever .

why do people get sick?

then a thought entered my mind. its to cleanse away whatever that needs to. its just the body working and helping the body n mind to detox.

or when the mind has done a fair bit of cleansing, the body follows suit and literally or metaphorically shows the cleaning action.

the mind and body is in tandem.

the other thought that followed–allow.

there were times when the feeling is so bad i feel like succumbing. then a part of me said, just allow. just look at the me that is feeling terrible about it, i don’t have to partake further.

4. redemption

i m always redeemed and at the right time.

i feel extremely grateful.

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6years 7months

亲爱的沁芝

你是我最特别的宝贝,因为你,我变成了mommy,是你让我觉醒,是你让mommy绽放,是你让mommy找到自己。

你知道原来你多么了不起吗?

你就是了不起的叶沁芝。一直一直要记得。

有一天,mommy很累很累。抱着沁芝。问沁芝,mommy有没有很累?

沁芝点头。

问她,很累了可以怎么办?

她说:睡觉。

好爱这个孩子。

我很喜欢抚摸沁芝的手心,特别是夜里,躺在床上要入睡的时候,像是我妈妈以前喜欢抚摸我的手那样。

因为在我很累很累很累很累的时候,是沁芝拖着我的手,让我感觉到力量。

沁芝已经懂得整理房间。

早上爸爸睡醒之后,沁芝会自动去整理床。mommy好骄傲!

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6岁又7个月大的那天,沁芝的牙齿掉了。早上早餐时,沁芝吃了很硬的面包,结果牙齿就掉了。

沁芝呜呜哭了,daddy抱着,好好看,那种父女之间的bonding

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当天下午,带婆婆去午餐,然后去Muji,沁芝一如往常,喜欢在这里玩chop,必不可少地给我做了小玩意儿。

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沁芝制作了手链,送给朋友。细心用一个一个小珠子串成一条手链,很高兴地。

有一天,沁芝回来时愁眉苦脸的,她说,朋友不要跟她玩,所以她难过了。隔天便说要做手链给朋友,做了有7、8个吧。

沁芝说,mommy is the best mommy。

这一天,带沁芝去tasting,让小妞看我怎么采访,感受mommy对采访和文字的热爱,之后有时间,上图书馆,翻翻书。

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沁芝心血来潮,说想要给同学做手链。于是爸爸亲自上阵帮忙。隔天还买了更多的珠子,只要沁芝开心。

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这一天,又带沁芝去tasting。说是tasting,但沁芝其实吃的不多,只是想让沁芝接触我在家之外的样子。体验工作究竟是怎么一回事。或许以后她长大了,这些不痛不痒的回忆,可以温暖沁芝。成为她记忆里的一道风景,想到的时候,可以带来温热的感觉。只是这样而已。

碰巧这天有机会去arteastiq,让沁芝吃吃喝喝之外,更重要的是我们一起感受颜色和把颜色关注在帆布上的那种感觉。像是捕捉心的动作,然后透过手的翻译,裁在白色——允许一切的颜色上面。

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对我来说,我很享受的是调色。直到到达心里的颜色。

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沁芝说,她很喜欢这里,以后还要再来。这就是我们的作品!

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和弟弟闹成一团!

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教师节,沁芝说要表演,结果真的做到了!沁芝还给了一个简短的开场白。然后弹奏三首歌曲

Marionette’s Dance

Lavender’s Blue

Floral Bouquet

沁芝真棒!

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学校假期,带沁芝皓皓去玩,其实也没上哪儿,但孩子就是开心。

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想去看Inside Out,决定带孩子去。这是两个小瓜第一次看电影,拿了booster seat。以前沁芝会抗拒看电影,现在长大了,真的不会了。

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Elsa!

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看完电影去吃pizza,然后两个小瓜就拿起气球,在商场里玩乐。快乐原来如此简单。只是跟随气球起飞和降落那样。只是在气球降落时碰到、抓到气球。

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隔天带小瓜去吃鼎泰丰,沁芝最爱的就是拉面和小笼包,一次可以吃好几粒!

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然后继续回到pasir ris度假。小瓜吵着要出门,dandelyn姐姐载着两人去超市。

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隔天星期天,带沁芝去看Hi 5.

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之后去吃Pizzaria Mozza

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带沁芝去逛逛,小女孩居然要我追她。我的宝贝!

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她很爱逛,很爱试衣服、饰品,更爱鞋子。而且穿起来都好好看!

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星期一,带沁芝去yamaha。课堂上孩子的歌唱声让人好感动 。听了很开心,让我知道,我还是那么容易被打动。被打动,因为有真。是从心唱出来的音乐。

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过后和阿妹阿姨吃云吞面,然后有甜点。好开心。

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daddy把plasma car和脚车绑起来,让沁芝皓皓体验不同的玩法。

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这一天,沁芝画了daddy和mommy。

从只是画mommy

到画daddy牵mommy

这是多么大的改变啊!

  
好开心,这是沁芝心里的画面。