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December 20, 2020

F*ck the Pursuit of Happiness—How I Discovered Gratitude in Buddhist Teachings & My Family.

Awareness is something that is practiced throughout time.

We don’t know exactly what causes our lack of, but we know that we need to practice perfecting it. Combining our conscious and unconscious thoughts is key in this.

What we don’t think about and often avoid is the pain and heavy desires we carry in our bodies. Much like passing clouds, we must watch them pass by. This way we know they are there, but we aren’t letting them run our inner lives. Just as we often don’t identify our conscious thoughts, we must do the same for our unconscious thoughts as well.

I will say that there is beauty to be seen when we reach the peak of the mountain and embrace the stillness of the valley. That is the kind of feeling we want to integrate as our own—the energy of life itself.

We are the mountain and valleys at the same time, just as much as we are human. The cycle of mother nature is an intertwined womb that is ever-changing. This is the identity that awareness brings. It is expansive, much like the universe—we cannot even truly comprehend its vastness. The mind is a spiritual tool—if used correctly the possibilities of manifestation are endless.

All good things must also come to an end. One of my favorite mottos I put into my spiritual journal. It is carefully placed inside of a sleeve I made out of a disposable paper cup I got in Taiwan at the airport. It states:

“Everything is unstable and unsatisfactory, love it while it’s here.”

This is such a powerful mantra that I summarized from the teachings of a Thai monk when I was studying Buddhism in Thailand.

In life, we will never truly be satisfied unless we practice gratitude, which is the basis of awareness itself. If we are grateful for every experience, every breath we are given—we will gain a new vision.

This insight is what helps us understand that nothing will ever stay the same. Nothing is ever guaranteed. Tomorrow may never come. We must love this life and everything it entails.

This type of perspective will also lead us to better choices. As a grateful person, we will not want to ruin what we have been given. We will strive to live life to the fullest. Even the quietest life in the country would suffice.

Living life to the fullest doesn’t mean we have to live loudly; it means that we live purposefully by following the spirit up the mountain rather than the turbulent emotional path of suffering. To live in the quiet stillness is the most exciting feeling I have ever experienced. Have you ever looked into an animal’s eyes and felt it’s secret life?

The lynx is known to be the keeper of secrets, to look into his eyes is to see the silence. This is what I felt when I wrote this poem:

Only as Free as the Silence

Peace is something that can never be explained.

Any amount of pain is lifted while you are being embraced.

The stars have a funny way of showing you where you belong in this world of magic.

Freedom is alive. It burns fiercely inside those that can hear the silence of the earth.

Such free spirits need sacred life to survive.

Sacred life exists in a kingdom where humans do not rule.

The spirit of the universe mysteriously speaks through such life.

In my eyes, when I felt peace, I felt love.

I can see the circle of life, but will never truly understand it.

Somethings have a bond to this earth I can never begin to understand.

Peace is a miracle that can never be explained, but if you listen closely—you might just hear the silence.

My step-mom lives in Thailand. She came to America and raised me as her own since I was four-years-old. I have been blessed to have lived and visited her beautiful country. My parents are retired there now, she moved there shortly after my grandpa passed.

Now, she cares for my elderly grandmother. I chose this photo of my grandfather driving everyone to the rice farm because it embodies a sense of gratitude. Most have little in the small village of Mukdahan.

However, there is laughter and smiles around every corner. This is what it means to embody gratitude and live a fulfilling, happy life. Their desires are small, but their hearts are full.

This is the wondrous gift that gratitude can give: a truly meaningful life.

~

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