help

What makes you not a Buddhist (book 4 of 12)

What makes you not a Buddhist (book 4 of 12)

May 8, 2020
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Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, author of What makes you not a Buddhist, has really managed to clarify for me what makes me not a Buddhist, and consequently, what would make me a Buddhist. I appreciate his take on this, and the book, short and easy-read that it is, is very informative and to-the-point.

”All compounded things are impermanent.
All emotions are pain.
All things have no inherent existence.
Nirvana is beyond concepts.”

If you do not accept these four truths, you would not be a Buddhist.
If you do, well, then… you are?!

”The recognition of impermanence is the key to freedom from fear of remaining forever stuck in a situation, habit, or pattern.”

Finished reading the book, and the morning after, was sent day 19 of the 21 days of Abundance-meditation by the (Deepak) Chopra Center. And funnily enough, the exercise for the day, attached to the meditation, centers around the parable of This too shall pass.

And I have to say, in my ever-deepening knowing of this, through and through, I find life more enjoyable to life. The high’s. The low’s. The nothing-much-is-happening-at-all’s. All of it.

”[…] when we remember that things are impermanent, we are less likely to be enslaved by assumptions, rigid beliefs (both religious and secular), value systems, or blind faith. Such awareness prevents us from getting caught up in all kinds of personal, political, and relationship dramas. We begin to know that things are not entirely under our control and never will be, so there is no expectation for things to go according to our hopes and fears.”

This is right up my alley, and something that greatly helps me in life. But no. I don’t see myself as a Buddhist, nor do I have any desire too. But I also want to clarify that in no way, does this mean that I don’t feel. That I don’t cry tears of despair as well as tears of the utmost joy.

I do. And I want to.
In no way do I want to go through life numb.
But knowing that whatever is, is right now and not forever, makes it easier to feel in the now, and not fall down the rabbit hole (at least not as often, as long, or as easily) of getting stuck in remembrance of feeling into what was, or imagining what might be.
Being here. Now.
Knowing nothing lasts forever. 

Recognizing the instability of causes and conditions leads us to understand our own power to transform obstacles and make the impossible possible. This is true in every area of life.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.

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Not wanting to ask for help

May 4, 2020
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Like a constant hum in the background, the insistence on not wanting to ask for help. I hear it from many, most even. It’s uncomfortable, it feels scary, in part perhaps due to thoughts about belittling oneself by asking? Or is it more to do with not knowing that the answer will be favorable, and from fear of the unknown, the uncontrollable, it’s easier to simply bore down into whatever it is and try to manage by yourself, instead of putting yourself through the risk of being turned down?

One of the interesting facts about help – almost no-one claims to like asking for help, but most everyone loves to help. So the generous thing is to ask for help, when appropriate, giving others an opportunity to step in and help.

For me, asking for help is something I’ve gotten quite good at, in large part due to the fact that since childhood I have a friend who’s a great helper, and at the same time, someone who would never say that she can help if she cannot. So I know, upon asking, that if she says Yes, it’s unequivocal, and if she says No, it’s because she cannot. Making it very easy for me to ask, as I know she takes full responsibility for answering truthfully. And when there’s a No, it’s not because she doesn’t like me, or thinks I am silly to ask, or… you know, all those dead-ends the mind has a habit of detouring into now and again.

But is there a difference between asking for Help versus asking for Assistance? Or is that difference purely semantic? And, equally important to ponder, is there a difference between Helping versus Assisting?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Doing. Being. Causing pain?

February 26, 2019
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Back pains again.
Desperately trying to figure out what to do to stop the pain, as well as ensure it doesn’t return.

Got valuable help from the one and only D once more, suggesting I look less at what to do, and more at what I am doing and how I am being it.

Still. Struggled with it.
Frustration and pain. Horrible pain.

Two full days at a customer site – long days.
Busy evenings at that.

So this morning (after 4 full days of pain) I relented and rescheduled a meeting I had this evening, giving myself an evening of rest with an added bonus-online therapy session with D as well. Got to my customer – and an hour before lunch I suddenly noticed: pain gone.

Just like that.

The appearance of these back pains has me looking within, with invaluable help from D. And I have to say, I humbly bow down to those who suffer constant bodily pain. It’s hard to avoid giving my backpain my entire focus, even though I know that’s the best way to ensure I suffer the pain all the more.

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With a little help from my friends… or with money?

February 11, 2019
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When I have a need, say of a long ladder so the chimney sweeper coming for his annual visit can get up on the roof, or a car for a few hours or a day, or help to take care of Pop the cat for a few days, or whatever really – my first instinct is to think about my friends. Might there amongst them be someone who can help me, or at least point me in a direction that could solve my problem/tend to my need?

I think it always has been my initial reaction. But I’m not sure.
I know I started to get really good at asking for help once my first marriage crashed and burned five weeks before the birth of my eldest child. Have a hard time to recall if I was as good at asking for help before that, but have a feeling I was. At least pretty good at it. But ever since that crash and burn, I’ve gotten really good at asking for help, and am proud of it!

The other possible reaction is to look for a service provider to tend to the need. Buy a ladder. Call a taxi or book a car in a carpool. Get Pop a few days vacation at a cattery.

These two approaches to life, and to solving one’s needs, are just that, two different approaches. I for one instinctively go for the first, and if that doesn’t work out, choose a suitable service provider to ensure I get my needs met. Neither approach is inherently good or bad. But… at the same time, the benefits of the first approach, of asking near and dear ones for help, has some (perhaps not so) hidden advantages to it. If I ask you for help, and you can help, the likelihood of you asking me, or others, for help when you need it increases. In this way, we weave a tapestry of relationship, of friendship, of live, concern and care. If I always turn to a professional service provider to help me out, I am effectively not weaving myself into that tapestry of mutual relationships, and I think that’s a dangerous path to choose.

We know that one of the most significant indicators of happiness is the strength of a person’s relationships. Asking for, and responding to requests for, help, is definitely one important part of relationship-building. We are better together, that’s the superpower of human beings. If I don’t do my bit in giving others the chance to help me, I am holding back on strengthening relationships not just for my own sake, but also for those close to me, am I not? And what message am I sending, by not asking for help? Is it a signal I want to send?

So perhaps… I am wrong in saying there’s nothing inherently good nor bad in these two approaches? Perhaps there is more good to be had from asking for help, than from paying a service provider? At least if I never ever ask anyone for help. But perhaps people like that simply do not exist?

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The answer is No…

November 16, 2018
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A few weeks ago, Vanessa of Crafting Connection (remember, the one with the amaaaazing Be the change-cards) shared an image on Facebook and Instagram, and I made a screen shot, because I found it do to the point:
If you don’t ask the answer is NO!!

So simple. So brilliant. And so ridiculously true. If you don’t ask the answer is NO!!

And still… here I am (possibly you as well?) hesitant to ask. Fearing the possible no. Totally missing the super-obvious, that if I don’t ask… the answer is given. No. Because I will n o t get what I don’t ask for (yes. Of course. Given that it is a something that I have to ask for to get. If it was something I could do myself, I would. Duh…).

Reminds me of something I have kept coming back to these past weeks, in various situations. That most of us would raise our hands if asked if we like to help other people. And – here comes the sad part – most of us would not raise our hands if asked if we like to ask for help from others.

I wonder how much the fear of getting a No is at the root of this behaviour? Probably quite a lot. And it’s a shame. Because if I, and you, and everybody else who refrains from asking for help, would start to look at is as providing others with an opportunity to do what people in general like doing, i.e. being of assistance, being helpful, perhaps more of us would raise our hands when asked Do you like to ask for help?

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Make sure it involves others!

November 14, 2018
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in Tip
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When asked If I offer out the phrase living a good life, what comes up for you? by Jonathan Fields on the pod The Good Life Project, Mitch Albom answers brilliantly.

Make sure it involves others, he said. Not sure that you can, you know, ever live a really good life if you’re not doing things for other people, if you don’t make helping other people or lifting other people a central part of your life. 

Mitch Albom is the author of Tuesdays with Morrie, a book I read a loooong time ago. I might have read some other book of his as well, not sure though. Mitch Albom hasn’t been top of mind, that’s for sure. But then, saw him featured on a recept episode of GLP, and clicked Play. And baaaam – I was hooked! By his gentle and thoughtful approach to life. By the example he’s setting, how he walks his talk. For real – at least what I can tell from this conversation. So I listened, and – yet again, it happens now and then – immediately pressed Play once I got to the end.

Well worth a second round of listening, and I might very well take Mitch on once more, for that matter.

At the end, he quotes his latest book, The next person you meet in heavenThe end of loneliness is when you realize how much need there is in the world, and how if you give to others in need, your loneliness goes away.

That sentence…Something about it makes me pause. Reflect. Upon my own feelings of loneliness. Of the loneliness I perceive in others around me, and the suffering I pick up from them, due to it. All in vain? I mean… he’s right, isn’t? Mitch, I mean? That if I truly realized how much there is to just dig into – there is no shortage what-so-ever of places, people, projects to get engaged in – I could have the busiest and most jam-packed action-filled life ever. If that’s what I aimed for. That is a choice available to me. And to you.

Listen to the pod. It’s worth an hour (or two. Or three…).

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