awakening big picture inspirational quotes joyful living spirit

What favorite quote has changed your life?

What favorite quote inspires and uplifts you? 

Do you have a favorite quote you live by?

Mine comes from a Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.  It has resonated throughout my being for decades now.

“My actions are the ground I stand on.”

It is so powerful yet simple.  Stop talking and do it.  Do the right thing.  For if you do not, you are standing on quicksand.

“My actions are the ground I stand on.”

At the end of a life, what else will you have? 

All the material possessions, they turn to dust.  They are just trinkets, baubles or as Robert Kiyosaki calls them, “doodads.”  Meaningless.

But to have live a life of right minded action?  The experiences, results, all flow from how we be and do.

A few thousand years ago, Siddhartha Gautama, a man, became known as the enlightened one.  The Buddha.  His teachings became what is now known as either a religion or a philosophy depending on who you talk to.  One of the most powerful teachings is the Eightfold Path.

These 8 steps lead to a path of a good and successful life.  It’s a Middle Way – not too hot and not too cold.  Just right.  It’s like the original 7 Habits of Highly Successful People!  Only one louder!

Here is the Eightfold Path

  1. Right Understanding
  2. Right Intent
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration

These are not rigid rules or commandments.  It’s not authoritarian.  It’s a self-help book.  It’s the original coaching program.  Thanks Sidd!

Anyone Can Use Them

And you don’t have to call yourself Buddhist to benefit.  These days I call myself Catholic and Buddhist.  Perhaps one day I’ll expand that to other labels too.

But there’s no conflict.  All spiritual paths are good.  There is no difference.


Sure there are religious practices that look different from the outside.

  • Making the sign of the cross.
  • Bowing to Mecca.
  • Chanting in Hebrew.
  • Chanting in Latin.
  • Chanting in Sanskrit or Pali.

It’s all the same with minor external differences.

The real culprit in the world is absolutism

Puritanism.  Fundamentalism.  Holding too strongly to anything.  I’ve seen it in all areas of life.  Snobbery leads to arrogance leads to condescension and separatism.  It’s tribalism.

There are coffee snobs who would never ever drink Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

Wine purists who do not drink Merlot.

Music teachers who have frozen in time all methods of certain master teachers as if time stood still.

People who judge others by the shoes they wear, the cars they drive, the words they use.

Hmm.  That’s it.  Judgement

“No judgements.”  That’s another good quote to live by.

It gets in the way.  Acceptance is the new middle way.

And to accept I need to change my thinking, being and doing.

“My actions are the ground I stand on.”

joyful living

Joy arises from simplicity

The Buddhists have always described a process of emptying one’s self of all desires, wants, ego, pride, lust.  This has always seemed so depressing and…well, dare I say it?  Pointless.

Well, a few months ago I started a radical purging of my life.  This was sparked by an article in the NY Times on a woman who responded to a challenge of living with just 100 things.   This is in a country that worships Walmart!  The idea electrified me!  What a concept!  To really choose what belongs in and also out of my life.   Delving deeper, I found the article in Time magazine describing the 100 things challenge and the guy who started this, Dave Bruno.
When my wife and I backpacked around India in the mid 90’s, we packed the most basic of possessions- 2 outfits to wear each, toothbrush and paste, a journal, a book, a camera, a first aid kit, sandals on our feet and a sun hat.  We budgeted for $15/day for our entire trip.  This would allow me to sometimes have an ice cold tall Kingfisher beer (just one) at the end of the day as it was about $1, a rather large portion of the daily budget which included lodging, food and travel.  Even with the most basics or perhaps because of the simplicity, we always remember this trip as the best of our lives.
So a few months ago, I started selling a bunch of my stuff beginning with the big items that were already making it difficult to move around my small apartment.  An electric bass that though was in excellent condition, I had hardly played in the 10 years I’ve owned it.  I sold a lot of recording equipment which I wasn’t using much either.  I gave away extra pots and pans.    Old computer equipment donated to my sister and even just put on the curb – they were gone within a few hours.
Books have long been a store of emotional baggage.
“How could I let this one go when I loved these words so dearly?”
But as I started selling, giving away, purging, donating, a strange thing happened.  I was feeling a natural rise in joy.  Sometimes it was almost giddiness for no apparent reason.  Other times, just basking in the newfound realization of understanding what’s really important in my life.
I also benefited in that I feel like I have a larger living space now having cleared it of so much clutter.  It’s not finished yet, but I feel like I’m onto something.  Perhaps I couldn’t comprehend the emptiness when I was so full?
So I dont’ really have a list of stuff yet, but I’m going through the piles and simplifying.  And each time I lighten my load, ping!  I get a rise in joy.
I’ll start posting my list soon.