9 Ways To Develop A Positive Mental Attitude

acquiring a positive mental attitude

9 Ways To Develop A Positive Mental Attitude

Have you ever wondered about the personality of those having a positive mental attitude? How they maintain a positive outlook no matter what, how they seem so magnetic to those around them, and how they never give up no matter how hopeless things may seem…

Do you wonder what’s the unknown truth behind this? Is a strong mental attitude something that can be taught, or does it come naturally? 

The truth is that everyone can adopt a more positive mental attitude. It is not an innate trait. 

Developing a positive mental attitude can improve one’s mood, relationships, and work and life satisfaction. Also, having a happy mindset influences physical health as well. 

All of this adds up to a robust case for the impact of a confident frame of mind. Let’s take a look at how to acquire a positive mindset and how to maintain that frame of mind. So, read on!

What actually do we call a positive mental attitude?

Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich” put out the idea of a positive mental attitude for the first time in 1937. The author never actually uses the phrase itself. He uses it as a philosophy that contends maintaining a positive outlook throughout one’s life will help one achieve more success.

A positive mental attitude (PMA) is a mindset that encourages us to look for the good in any situation. To express our deepest values and beliefs without hesitation and to appreciate the joy of little things in life.

How can we acquire a strong mental attitude?

acquiring a positive mental attitude

The practice of developing a cheerful attitude may initially require effort on your part, but it will pay off in plentiful ways throughout your life. So, keep on reading if you want to acquire them. 

1. Accept your negative thoughts

It is not humanly possible to experience happy feelings all the time. You should not judge yourself for experiencing bad emotions; instead, give yourself permission to feel them as they arise.

Even the occasional onset of negative ideas and sensations might be viewed in a good light. For instance, facing struggle strengthens character, so not only it allows us to better assist those who may one day find themselves in a similar position, but it also helps us to face our struggles more easily.

2. Believe in yourself with confidence!

Keeping a positive frame of mind requires you to have faith in yourself, confidence in your abilities, and the realization that you are the only person who can limit your potential. Your mind must be kept clear of all negativity at all times.

3. Just enjoy the now

In order to acquire positive mental thinking, free yourself from the chains of the past and the doubts of the future. When things aren’t going as planned, it’s already tricky to keep your mind on the present moment. 

You can’t solve your problems by living in the past or worrying about the future. That’s why trying to enjoy the present might make you feel like smiling is an impossible task. To have a good frame of mind, we must first disconnect from past and future thoughts. 

There is a right time for everything. Neither the past nor the future can be altered, so why bother trying to stop it? Both the next minute and the next decade hold equal mystery. No one knows what will happen next minute. So why should we worry?

acquiring positive mental thinking

Thinking about the past and the future all the time keeps you from living in the present moment and appreciating what is happening right now. Solving the issues you’re facing right now is always a good idea. The most important things are the immediate actions you are taking.

4. Participate in things you enjoy

Seeking out pleasant experiences can help you think more positively. Put your energy into improving the positive aspects of your life and avoiding the unpleasant ones. Get into the habit of listening to podcasts on uplifting topics. Create an upbeat playlist of all of your favorite tracks. Escape indoors and enjoy nature. Attend gatherings you have confidence in your enjoyment of. If you have a lot of happy experiences under your belt, you can always look back on them when times get tough.

5. Every day, give yourself a little care

To keep going forward with a positive mindset, you must take a step back and reward yourself with something nice. 

Developing a positive mental attitude begins with adopting positive behaviors. Doing things on your own or with your spouse that help you declutter your brain and make room for the optimistic ideas you need, such as eating well, exercising, doing yoga or meditation, or simply walking outside for fresh air.

meditate to maintain a positive mental attitude

Taking these breaks will help you maintain a more upbeat attitude while you’re putting in long hours at the workplace.

6. Play some tunes that make you feel better

Listening to music now is not just entertainment. A study found that it may even improve health. Here is how! 

Research has proven that music can trigger the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and oxytocin in the brain. Also, there is evidence that music also lessens stress hormones. 

The more dopamine released in your body, the happier you feel, and the more you feel happiness, the stronger your mental attitude will be.

7. Grow a heart of appreciation

Try to treat yourself with kindness. Start your journey toward a more optimistic outlook. Instead of being tough on yourself, try adopting a growth mentality. Having a growth mentality means that you thrive on challenges and consider failure as a springboard for progress and strengthening your abilities rather than as a way to define yourself.

Feeling grateful for what you have can serve as a foundation for a good outlook. For every gloomy thought that enters your head throughout the day, instead of hurting yourself, use it as a prompt to think of something positive.   

Here are some examples. Instead of “I’ve never done anything like this before, I can’t do it,” → think, “This is a chance to learn something new”. And, instead of “This is not going to work,” → think, “I’ll do my best to make it work!”. You can find more examples on our Samavira Instagram profile.

8. Create your own "gratitude" notebook

Why not start each day by reminding yourself that you have so much to be thankful for?

Keeping a daily gratitude notebook is a great practice for maintaining optimism. A daily practice of writing down a few things for which you are grateful. They can range from minor occurrences, like spotting a cute dog on the way to work, to major ones, like landing your dream job. They can be longer-term, like having a loving family, or temporary, like buying a large cappuccino for yourself that day.

It’s up to you to write whatever you want. The important thing is that you are making an effort to maintain a gratitude mindset daily. You may change your viewpoint for the better by retraining your brain to focus on the positive aspects of your life.

9. Practice Meditation and Mindfulness

There will be times when the mountain seems impassable, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be climbed. The mental strength you gain from reaching the peak will serve you well in the face of other trials down the road. You can count on meditation and mindfulness to be there for you anytime you’re in a tough spot. They are the most effective natural methods to help your brain deal with it – no matter what. 

Although it has many, one of the perks of meditation is that it can help you see how temporary our thoughts and experiences really are. If you have hope that whatever happens, it will eventually pass, then you can take comfort in the knowledge that every low will eventually be met by a high. As a result, you’ll be able to ponder with greater calm and satisfaction.

In A Nutshell

Still reading? Now, we guess you must be interested in developing a strong mental attitude, right? 

We hope that after reading this article, a new, optimistic outlook on life is within your reach now. It’s possible that this will make you happier in your professional life, making you more productive and able to deal with setbacks with grace.

So it’s the right time to know a new you! More encouraging, more optimistic, and more confident.

Your Next Step

Want to start your meditation journey to increase the levels of mindfulness in your life?

Sign up for our free live-guided wellness sessions!

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Meditation, Mindfulness, and Focus – An Interview with A Monk Part 3

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We hosted an interview with a Buddhist Monk Pasura from Thailand. Monk Pasura is one of the Monks who trained Samavira’s founder Lauren when she lived in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand. We spoke about meditation, mindfulness, focus and more. Enjoy the read! 🙂
My question was really about our emotional regulation. So like when you are overly avoiding a particular emotional state or overly focusing on a particular emotional state, or you are in it rather than observing it, you can be quite dis-regulated. I think a lot of what you said already answered some of this with the filtering, process, and acceptance, but I wondered if you had any more wisdom to that and I wondered if you had any posture tips, I would like to sit for long there, I’ve tried all kinds of positions and my legs are always dead, so, yeah.
So, two questions. The first one, we usually let our emotions consume us and become victims of our own emotions. And then that’s actually not focusing on the emotions, we actually become sort of a victim of our own emotions. So every emotion needs to flow because that’s essentially the word emotion, which means it is movement.
So as long as you’re still part of that movement, you are still being consumed by the emotion. Which means in that movement, you have to be still. Whenever you are still, that movement slowly turns until it runs out until it no longer has that effect on you. But the moment you are part of that movement, of that motion, it continues to accelerate because you add a few, you are the guest.
So first thing first, whenever you notice that your emotions are starting to consume you, you’ll notice that your state of peace is changing. So then, take a break, a mental break, a step back because that stillness will help you to notice the emotions. And it’s not about trying to recollect it, because the moment you try to control it is the moment that you actually input more acceleration  into the emotion itself.
So instead you should watch it flow until you understand what is happening in that situation. And then when you resume the action, the action itself will not be a part of that emotion. But if you try to regulate the emotions, you’re gonna jump right back in and stir it up again.
Imagine this, you’re upset, and you know that you’re upset. And you try to recollect yourself by focusing on what you’re upset about. But the human mind doesn’t work that way because whatever we focus on, gets bigger. So if you focus on it more, you get more upset, not less upset. So instead I should take a step back to notice what is happening to me at that  moment. And identify it, for instance, it might be a problem at work. Maybe there are some people who keep acting like they don’t understand what I’m saying.
So, maybe the way I explain it doesn’t make sense to them. Let me lay it out differently to see if that will work out. Meaning, if I turn that into a different action, and step out of that motion, I can find a better resolution to the problem.
About the sitting posture, first of all, don’t get caught up with this perfect/ideal posture that we have seen, because it’s more about your body. Meditation is about finding that balance between awareness and comfort. With too much awareness, you’ll be tense. Too much comfort, you’ll be sleepy. So most of the time people tend to get lost in wanting to focus on keeping their mind still.
But you can’t force your mind to stop thinking. You can only slow it down by sitting back, waiting, and watching it until it slows down on its own. This means you need to sit the longest you can and that requires you to sit as comfortably as you can while you remain aware. So it doesn’t matter if you sit on the chair, couch, bed, floor, whichever style, legs up pointing forward, it’s up to you as long as you can sit there and feel like I don’t have to worry about my body anymore.
That’s the first part. Secondly, accept that your body has limits. It doesn’t require you to meditate by sitting still completely for three hours straight up because even I move. The human body has limitations, and that means we can’t be in the same position for too long. Human teachers will not be able to stand the pressure. So at a certain point, you will notice it, but there’s something about it.
Have you ever enjoyed reading books or watching a movie that was so fun and you stayed there for a few hours without noticing? The moment that you capture something, you tend to withdraw from perceiving the physical sensation.
So same thing with the mind, with meditation. If you really enjoy that entire time of meditation, you don’t really pay attention to the body. When you actually meditate longer, it’s not that you erase the pain, you don’t perceive the pain. So the thing is you just ignore it. If you tell yourself if I’m feeling some pain, gently adjust, or start again. Come back to where you sit back, relax, and enjoy the meditation.
Put it this way. When you go to the cinema, what do you do? You find the best seat where you can sit back, relax, and watch the movie. Here you are not an actress, director, or commentator. You just need to shut up and watch the movie while you sit back, relax, and enjoy it.
Whenever you feel that your seat is becoming uncomfortable, you adjust yourself and keep watching. Anytime you get wandering thoughts, it’s like you jump to the screen, come and access it then return to your seat where you can sit back, relax, and watch it.
A question regarding meditation and healing. How do you see, how can we heal ourselves and others and the world as a whole through the practice of meditation?
The process of healing depends on many aspects, but meditation allows us to reflect on what’s happening within ourselves. In the past, people thought mindfulness is about being in the present, but it also actually means being aware of what happened to you in the moment.
So that you can be aware when you are looking at the past and you can be aware of it as you look into the future as well. So that’s actually part of mindfulness. And when you do so, you create a next step, which is introspection or retrospection. Which means you are able to kind of review the whole thing. But what would happen is then you start to make sense of it, this is actually a lesson to learn, something that I understand happened to me, except if that’s on my part so I can move on from it.
So all of this is related to the process of healing because at the end of the day, we can’t erase anything in our life, even though we want to forget something, we won’t. The human brain doesn’t work that way. But we try to pretend that it doesn’t hurt anymore because we can’t forget about it. At the end of the day, you can’t! You can only learn to live with it and understand that it already happened so it’s something that you are not victimizing yourself anymore and you can move on from that.
And that is a process of healing that really comes, including other things that you have been, traumatized with different experiences in life. Those are things that we can reflect on and study to accept as who we are, and that’s when we can move on. Otherwise, we keep rejecting ourselves all the time and when everybody starts doing that to themselves it actually helps them to see other people from different perspectives too.
That everybody has this sad story of pain that they don’t even know about. And that sometimes becomes the behavior that people act in a certain way. And when you feel that sense of understanding that brings kindness and compassion in your actions towards others and that makes the whole world a lot easier.

How do you see trauma and meditation? Would you say that meditation can help or should it come in the healing process a little bit later on?

It actually comes automatically. The moment you’re meditating, you might settle down your memory that has been suppressed or slowly kind of unwinds it. And it will pop up. Sometimes we pop up just the feelings or kind of power like images, but it’s for you to deal with.
It’s like when you open the carpet and the dust comes out and you are like, ‘no, there’s the dust.’ And try to convince yourself it’s not there. So you sort of notice that now this is the dust and you can now put the dust aside. Now I’m just gonna put it in that corner or the dust bin where I no longer need to think about it anymore or at least you get to deal with it rather than just every time you look at the carpet, you know it’s under there, but you pretend it’s not there and it’s haunting you.
So those can really help you heal. But it takes time. It depends on how deep the scar is, the deeper the scar, the longer it takes. But eventually, it’s said that thinking about it and reliving those experiences will slowly transform you into living with those experiences. And that’s the big change and basically reintegrating it.
You stop judging and victimizing yourself from those experiences, and start to move on from it. It can take quite a while, but in the end, obviously, it’s worth it. I mean, that goes without saying, but also, Finding the support of practices like meditation or finding the support of meditation, finding support of, of course, also people around you.
What I wanted to ask was, introspection is beneficial but people still tend to avoid it or are afraid to go deeper within themselves. Why do you believe, or why do you think that people might be afraid of introspection, or why do people avoid it?
For a number of things though, people look for validation from others. So throughout a lifetime of that, means that the person is always feeling insecure to embrace themselves and accept how vulnerable and flawed they are.
Everybody has flaws, but it’s not everyone can accept that. They have a flaw to move on from that. And because of that, a lot of people are afraid of accepting who they are. And that’s why everyone creates this image that’s an illusion of liking themselves and everybody thinks of this image as you. Then you try to protect that image so hard instead of accepting who you are and that makes an introspection of realizing yourself and the other worlds very hard because they don’t want to embrace who they are. Yet life is not picture perfect as we tend to create it.
Secondly, there are two types of people in the world. Those that don’t know that they don’t know and those that know that they don’t know. The first one doesn’t know that they don’t know anything. So they don’t know that. They don’t even know themself. So that’s why they don’t bother taking time to look inside themselves or to introspect at all. They think they know what it is about themselves already. So that’s actually what makes it really, really hard, as are the people who know that they don’t know anything about themselves, so they want to know more about themselves.
And that is actually the second stage. That’s why, for them to open up to it, it takes a lot of time and moments for them to look inside until they start to see a glimpse of it because the moment they see within is not as scary as they believe it would be, they actually become more accustomed to it, as friendlier rather than being hostile to that and then they start to accept it.
Because in order for you to solve a problem, you have to admit that you have a problem, accept the problem, and realize that you have it in order to, to resolve it. But if we keep rejecting it, we never really face it. Meaning we are always in flight mode, running away. It’s very important to acknowledge the issue before you can learn to accept them.
What do you believe consciousness is? If you have an answer to that?
In our context, consciousness is the mind. And the mind is not the body, not the brain, and not the heart because the mind is different. For us, we explained it as this different element that has the ability to think, memorize, perceive, and know. So when you are conscious of something, the mind perceives and goes through everything, every thinking process until it becomes the realization of something.
That’s consciousness. It needs to work with the body because the brain is like an office for the mind. So it’s a kind of software and hardware. The mind, and the consciousness is software and brain is hardware. So they kind of connect to each other, but not exactly the same things.
That’s how we explain it. The key point is we can always upgrade the software, which is the consciousness of the mind, but the hardware tends to stick to the way it has been ever since we grew up. So it’s not easy to upgrade the hardware, but we can always focus on upgrading the software with the hope that it will stimulate, enhance or optimize the hardware.
For someone who wants to meditate and for some reason, their region does not allow/ holds them back from meditation, how can that person learn/practice meditation? Asking this because I intend to train/provoke others to at least start meditating to reap the benefits of that. Is there any kind/alternative method like walking meditation, or anything like that, that people or even children can start with?
That’s a very good question, but first of all, let’s go back to the meaning of the word meditation itself. Meditation is a skill that enhances the ability to stay conscious and be aware of the present moment, basically.
So now, the problem is that people have this perception and idea that meditation is a religious practice. Let me go back to the 1960s in the US, back then, people still thought of meditation as a religious practice. So they didn’t call it meditation, they referred to it as ‘attention enhancing techniques.
My point is that, for instance, ‘chicken’ is an English word. In Thai, we call it ‘gai’, in Chinese it’s called ‘iro’. It doesn’t matter what you call it. It is that thing, that poetry meat that you eat anyway. It’s good when you fry it. That’s all.
So what matters now is that if you just say, ‘I’m gonna be gonna practice meditation together’, it’ll be an issue. But probably, if you paraphrase it and use other words, for example, say this is ‘we are gonna do a little workshop about enhancing our focus’. You don’t have to call it meditation because it’s just a name and you can create a name for it in different ways.
That doesn’t refer to the connotation because at the end of the day, if you ask someone to focus on their breathing, to visualize something bright within themselves, repeating the word that they come up with, there’s nothing religious about it at all. So whether you choose walking, meditation, sitting down, or breathing, it doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t call it meditation.
That way, people won’t get that weird idea of it. You just have to explain it. For instance, we can say a workshop for reducing stress, enhancing attention, awareness, consciousness, or healing process. There are many ways that you can call it. I was just teaching kids meditation in Austria last week, and what I did was simple.
I told them, ‘Okay kids, I want you to sit down. Imagine that you’re sitting in the nighttime. Now I want you to pick a star, the brightest one in the sky. Just pick it. You got it. And then eat it like candy. Now let’s play a game. The game is very simple. The game is called Guardian. So I want you to keep looking at the star inside yourself.
Okay? As long as you can see it, you can guard it. If you lose sight of it, something will take it away. Don’t let the monster take it away. Okay? Now let’s look at it from the top. Now turn this time to a moon. Now let’s turn this time to the sun. Now imagine you are flying.’ And that’s it.
It’s more of the name that some people get caught up with, instead of what it is. Because they’re just hearing things without getting the experience that this is not about religion.
And it doesn’t matter what religion you practice. Meditation doesn’t change what you believe in. It actually helps you to understand what you believe in a lot better. So to go back to the core of what meditation actually is, without calling it a meditation so that people are more open to the practice.  

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Buddhism, Enlightenment and Simplicity – An Interview with A Monk Part 2

Buddhism, Enlightenment and Simplicity – An Interview with A Monk Part 2

We hosted an interview with a Buddhist Monk Pasura from Thailand. Monk Pasura is one of the Monks who trained Samavira’s founder Lauren when she lived in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand.

We spoke about Buddhism, enlightenment, simplicity and more. Enjoy the read! 🙂

Why did you decide to become a monk? Why are you on this path?

Well, before I became a monk, I was just like everybody else. I attended school, and have a master’s degree. I had a few jobs, my last job before I became a monk was as a flight attendant. And I had this philosophy of work hard, play hard, kinda person. So I was a workaholic, but I also enjoyed life to the fullest. So at the age of 28, is when I started to feel fed up with how things were.

I wanted to take a little break, just to sort of see myself in  a new direction after turning 30. So that’s when I decided to be a monk for four months because in Thailand there’s a tradition for a man to be a monk for a short period of time for a few weeks or a few months. So that’s why I decided to become a monk for four months.

At first it was hard. Adjusting to this new life was not easy. But as time goes by it gets kind of peaceful that it really feels crowded, I guess. And that really gave me a different perspective on how to see life in something that really called happiness. So that’s how I decided to extend it until now. It’s been 17 years.

We hosted an interview with a Buddhist Monk Pasura from Thailand. Monk Pasura is one of the Monks who trained Samavira’s founder Lauren when she lived in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand. Enjoy! 🙂

Would you say it has become easier over time or..?

It is a lifestyle. Despite the many rules and restrictions, once you get used to those disciplines and rules, it becomes part of your life. That the moment when it becomes a part of your life it’s actually easy to just do it without feeling as if you have to force yourself.

At the end of the day, all the rules and disciplines that we have, serve one main purpose. Which is to help us live a mindful life. Because basically, all the rules are about what kind of necessities we should have, how we should look after them, what kind of behavior we should have, and the manner in which we should conduct ourselves.

Such things really help us to become more mindful. And mindfulness also supports the practice of meditation. Generally, the disciplines that we have, are in support of the practice of meditation. And if the goal is to get deeper into the meditative experiences, that will be ideal.

What’s a day in the life of a Monk? Like, what does your life look like, how would you explain it to people like us?

Generally, just like everybody, eat, sleep, meditate, but a lot more meditation I guess, haha. So the day starts at about 4.30am or five o’clock in the morning, followed by meditation till around seven o’clock. Then we have breakfast, at about 7.30am in Thailand. Sometimes we go out to ask for food in the bowl as well.

And in my case, I will continue my meditation after breakfast from like 8.30am all the way to 11.30am, where that will be lunchtime, and also the last meal of the day. Then in the afternoon, that depends. Some days I have work to do, work in the temple. Where I finish all the different tasks that have been assigned and doing chores and all that.

And then in the evening, at about 7.30pm, we’ll have the evening prayers and meditation. And we finish at about 10pm, 11pm, I go to bed. So that would be a typical day in the temple.

And I know you do so many things besides that as well though. I know you travel a lot, you speak a lot. I mean, we’re here right now on this, on this session together. What is more, what are the extra things that you do as a monk and why is it different for some monks?

Well, my temple is big, so we have a lot of tasks and projects for different groups of people from rural areas to youth development to different things.

So my part is in the international relations divisions and also it was assigned to teach meditation in English. It kind of depends on the time differences around the world. And that’s pretty much my job. I’ve also had the chance to work on many projects and trainings in different countries as well. So that’s more on the side of International relations.

Can I become a monk, and if so, what does that process look like? What does it depend on? What’s needed?

Basically, anyone can become a monk because each temple has its own recruitment procedures. In the case of my temple, we do have a short-term monthly program open to anyone to apply. Of course, you have to go through some interviews and all that.

If you pass the short-term ordination and you want to continue further, there will be a longer program for you to continue your training for a few more years until you fully become a member. So generally that is how the procedure looks like.

Is that the same for women or fully different?

The thing is, in Thailand, we don’t have the female monk tradition. I mean, in the Buddha time they had the female monk tradition. But because in order to become a monk, you need a community of monks to adopt you into the community. So it’s kind of a lineage that’s passed on from the Buddha all the way to the present day.

So in the case of Thailand Buddhism, when it came to Thailand, the female Monk lineage never came with it. So we sort of never really started from the very beginning. But the lineage still exists in Korea and Taiwan, so they’ve passed it down for like 2,600 years. If you want to, you can also apply for that. But they have different types of training.

And going back again to the day, a day in the life off, what is it that you enjoy the most about what you do? I mean, the whole package of what you do. What is it that you, let’s say like the least, or is the most challenging for you? Basically?

Well for me, what I really enjoy is actually just sitting down to meditate in my spot. That is actually an ideal activity of the day that I really like to do.

But otherwise, of course, people think that I enjoy being a teacher teaching meditation. Honestly, I didn’t become a monk to become a teacher. I became a monk to become a student. So it was the other way around. I only share what I have experienced and what I have learned from many masters who are really great at what they do, and they have been practicing and passing down their wisdom and knowledge. So that’s mainly my part.

The most challenging part is trying to be as close as what I have been talking about because everything that I share, a lot of them come from the master who is really, really good, but I’m not as good as they are. So I want to be as good as they are, and that’s a little bit challenging to keep developing myself to that extent.

Has becoming a monk changed your worldview and not just indeed how you do life, which is what you just mentioned, but also how you see life?

Honestly, it changed a lot because before I was a monk, I used to be just like you guys and I would work happily and think I’m on top of the world by having everything, having a chance to travel a lot, the whole year long. But, it was very weird that after a few weeks of being a monk when I had nothing at all, I felt totally carefree.

No worries in my head and I was like, it’s that simple. Meanings that happen now don’t depend on who I am or what I have, but more on how I think. So that really changed the perspective of happiness, the meaning of happiness or even what is the purpose of life itself. That’s really something that I have been looking at differently.

So what I have noticed as a monk is that people around the world want to be happy, and want to be good. Even though the definitions of happiness or good are different, they are pursuing the same thing, let’s say the same abstract object that they can’t define and they’re still looking for the definition of it.

But a lot of time they forget that the definition of the happiness that they’re looking for is just so close to them. It’s always there. The moment they stop saying ‘I want…’, they’ll get it.  Replace it with ‘I have’ and you’ll actually see it right there. Or the moment you stop wanting it, you’ll get it.

But people are always looking further away till they don’t look closer within themselves. That’s all.

But this world is not easy. It’s always about validation by others. You’re always looking for validation each time you post stuff on your Facebook, Instagram, it’s always like how many people will comment and like your post. And you get gratification because of those kinds of things. And if you don’t get it, you don’t feel good about yourself.

And that is the way people these days look for validation from others. But in fact, it doesn’t really matter because they don’t live your life. You live your life. You are the one who really feels happy. And that’s the habit, it’s that context. Like it doesn’t matter. Things go up, things come down. And it’s just me.

That’s the journey of being human to release all of that and let go of all of that so we can go back to the core of what we are and who we are and how we are. Our core is happiness, contentment, peace. So basically releasing it all to go back to that core. It’s not about pursuing, it’s about being.

A question about Buddhism. What does that mean to you, because it’s also a big interest of our team and our community to understand a bit more from a Buddhist himself, not just reading about it online, which is of course different. So first I’d like to ask you,

What is Buddhism to you? How would you explain it? What does it mean to you?

Well, the word Buddhism is religious, but to be honest, Buddhism is not really basically a religion in the way because there’s nothing compulsory about it. When we talk about things like karma, it’s not like the Buddha said karma and said the law of karma.

He didn’t do anything about it. He was just like, ‘Hey, this is the law of karma. It exists already. It’s like if you eat, you’re full. If you don’t eat, you stay hungry. If you brush your teeth every day, you get good teeth. If you don’t brush your teeth, it takes a couple of years, but your teeth will go bad, you know?’

So it’s not like the Buddha made your teeth bad. That’s basically what the law of karma really means. So the red is more like now, if you understand something is good for you, you do it. If it becomes good karma and the consequences will come back to you. That’s why Buddhism is not really something compulsory, first of all.

Secondly, it’s more like a lifestyle, because the foundation of Buddhist practice lies in three things. Number one, abstain from all negative actions or easy actions. Number two, strive in doing good and positive actions, which means don’t do any bad stuff. Keep doing good stuff, you’ll get the benefits. Number three, keep purifying your mind.

So that is actually the Buddhist practice, but that doesn’t mean that you have to call yourself Buddhist to do it, because generally, this is what human beings should be doing and how to defy good and bad. Anything that comes from your desire, your greed, your anger, your ego, your jealousy, bad. Anything that doesn’t come from that good.

Anything that you don’t want others to do to you to treat, you don’t treat others because that’s bad. The clearer your mind is, the more empathetic you become with other people’s feelings. Good and bad defy each other like that. So the Buddha, for us, is just like a teacher who discovered something.

He’s not like a holy figure. So he’s more like a teacher. So that’s how I see Buddhism. It’s more of a lifestyle or a kind of philosophy that if you think is beneficial, you do it because at the end of the day, everything that you do, you act from it, and the consequences are on you and the people around you.

What about enlightenment, in the sense of what does it mean to be enlightened and how can one reach that?

Well, in the Buddhist perspective, it’s a bit deeper than the enlightenment that we say in the West. So generally, let’s use a simple analogy, like thinking of the mind like clear water.

In this mind, because everything is clear, it also contains knowledge, like we have the knowledge about who we are, where we are from, where we should be going, or the purpose of life. We had the answer, but it was clouded by the ink that we have been putting down there for many of the lifetimes we believe in. So, the many colors of ink started to mix up until we can’t see what’s inside and we can’t really see reality as it is.

Enlightenment is the process in which we are able to filter everything completely until everything returns to the pure state permanently. And that’s when we obtain knowledge. That’s why enlightenment means to know or to awaken. Awake from our own ignorance.

How do you transform knowledge into wisdom?

That happens when you know something, then you get to put it into practice until you learn the craft of it. To put it in simple perspective, let’s say today, if you want to cook, you can just go to YouTube.

It’s like when I become a monk, we pledge to our teachers or preceptor that from now on, ‘I pledge to learn from your habit.’ Not from what they teach, but from the habit.

Like there was this master who couldn’t read a word, but had these perfect habits that I could learn from, like how to be a proper monk, a proper person based on the way a person is behaving. My temple was founded by a nun, who couldn’t read and write because she’d never been to school when she found the temple. She had only about 100 US dollars to turn an empty patio field into a temple.

She had 10 disciples when she was starting the project and she was 60 years old. So against all odds, she didn’t have the age, she didn’t have the knowledge, she didn’t have the funding, and she didn’t have the manpower. But she turned that empty piece of land into a temple of 3000 monks and 100 centers.

But how, you may wonder? Without much knowledge, she couldn’t even write her one name. But what she was really good at was meditation. She was really good at decision-making , and that made her mind so sharp and clear inside.

Even when we asked her difficult questions from the text that even the Buddhist column found very hard to explain, she would teach us and explain in simple words, but she couldn’t read them.

Is there anything else that we can pick your brain with?

From what I have seen in my master, I mean everything that I have said so far is taking things down to simplicity.

The moment we understand the need and want. And that is coming from understanding ourselves. We understand what we need and what we want, and from that, make life a lot easier. We just love to make our lives complicated for no good reason. You know, we don’t even know why we do things the way we do things each day, the way we get up until we go to bed at night, why am I doing this?

Why do I want that? And if the moment we pause and ask these questions, we’re like, ‘that kinda sucks’. So that actually for me, is the best thing to have, that awareness of ourselves. It’s taking every single moment to notice that this is what I want. This is actually what I need, and this is what necessities are about.

So, why do I need to waste time, energy, emotions, and feel things that don’t really matter to me? People can speak crap about me. It doesn’t change who I am, but why do I have to be affected so much by words? Those are ways you can actually adjust. I don’t mean being in submission or giving up or surrendering to just let people abuse you, but it doesn’t mean that I have to get upset and just retaliate.

I mean I can come up with some method that I take high value in rather than resorting to just retaliation. It’s like people say crap up on me. I just have to say something bad. It doesn’t mean I have to say back all the time. Sometimes it’s just a bunch of crazy people on the street.

It doesn’t really matter. Sometimes people say bad stuff, and I just take it calmly in a more reasonable way. And I don’t need to get upset by it either. So there are many ways to get around things and for me, we can make life simpler, and simplicity brings happiness.

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