How Can I View This As a Gift?

I was listening to The Tim Ferriss Show podcast earlier today (I think it was the episode The 4-Hour Workweek Revisited) and Tim was talking about how he always has this question queued up in his mind for when difficult situations arise:

How can I view this as a gift?

It really connected with me as a great way to flip the script when you’re first reaction may be frustration, annoyance, or anger. Instead, how can I learn from this? How can I see this as an opportunity?

This is in line with other Buddhist teaching I have come across, in terms of seeing Buddha, as a teacher, in others and looking at challenging situations as opportunities to learn. It reminded me of this quote as well:

In a work situation, if you have a particularly cantankerous boss who you think is a complete idiot, can you look at that person as the Buddha? As a manager, can you see that person who is working for you as the Buddha?

-Gerry Shishin Wick Sensei, “Zen in the Workplace”

I’m Trying Intermittent Fasting

After stumbling on some articles discussing intermittent fasting (like this one) a week or so ago I decided to give it a try. Started with a rough 16-8 routine of 16 fasting hours and 8 eating hours. I noticed that was pretty easy and it was more like 18 to 20 hours fasting most days. So the last two days I’ve done a full 24 hours, eating just one good sized meal each day and feeling great. It’s been an eye opening experiment from a mindfulness standpoint, challenging many assumptions I held about food, diet, and nutrition. Much more to come on this.

Ecology of the Mind

I read this article today which excerpts a section of a talk by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu on the relationship between the human mind and nature. Buddhadasa was a Thai monk who lived between 1906 and 1993, and he was known as a “forest monk”. I found a lot of resonance with the main concept of the piece – “the ecology of the mind”:

In other words, Dhamma is the ecology of the mind. This is how nature has arranged things, and it has always been like this, in a most natural way. The mind with Dhamma has a natural spiritual ecology because it is fresh, beautiful, quiet, and joyful. This is most natural. It is calm and peaceful because nothing disturbs it. It contains a deep spiritual solitude, so that nothing can disturb or trouble it. Its joy is cool.

Check out this page for some additional reading on “dhamma”.