Podcast – How to find contentment in your life.

If you prefer to listen, instead of reading, here’s the audio podcast of today’s blog. I hope that you like it!

Let me know what you think!

On anchor.fm: https://anchor.fm/thishappyhuman/episodes/How-to-find-contentment-in-your-life-e1d0uf8

On YouTube:

How to find contentment in your life

It’s not always easy to accept that what is, is. But if we can learn to be content with our life as it stands, there are lessons to be learned from both the good and bad. We must accept our karma and learn from it before we can make any changes for ourselves. Contentment is the key to happiness.

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

We must always try to understand karma and learn from it before we can make any changes for ourselves. Accepting karma is the best way to be content with our lives as they stand. We must accept what karma has given us without complaint, knowing that peace will come when all karma is accepted.

What is ‘Karma’?

Karma is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. Karma-vipaka, represent the ripened effects of karma, which must be experienced either in this life or in a future rebirth. Karma-vipaka can be both more and less than the cause. When our deeds are positive and skillful, they “ripen” as happiness and well-being. When our actions are negative and unskillful, they ripen as pain and suffering.

The karma we create does not disappear without being experienced. The only way karma disappears is through purification. To be purified, karma must be repaid or “discharged.” Only karma that has been paid for with positive, skillful karma can be discharged so it no longer has to ripen. Since karma is tied together with actions, karma-vipaka are the results of our karma that have already been experienced.

Past lives

Karma is volition, intention or will. Karma may be viewed as a type of force that carries us from one life to another, creating our next life situation just by the potency of karma alone.  Karma is not fate, karma does not control our lives; rather karma operates by presenting us with alternatives, thus creating the causes of our future. A karma-vipakacandra is a person who has karma ripening for them at any given time. Karma may be negative or positive based on whether it ripens.

Present lives

In karma theory, karma is primarily seen as having effects in this very lifetime rather than future rebirths. Karma primarily affects the being whose karma it is. However, beings are all interconnected; what affects one of us affects all of us in different ways depending on our relationship to it.

Karma in this life

Karma that produces results at once, i.e., in the same life, or very quickly, due to its potency or strength, is called karma with visible result. For example, a karma may ripen when a person is dying, causing suffering or pain to the dying person. Such karma calls for an immediate response to eliminate the karma-produced suffering.

Seeds of karma produce their results over time, usually in future rebirths. These are karmic actions that have no visible result.

The five types of karma with results

Some types of Karma produce results in this lifetime, called karma in this life and others produce results in the next life.

The five karma with results are:

1) karma producing suffering immediately

2) karma producing moderate suffering when reborn or continuing existing

3) karma that produces no visible result until its conditions are complete

4) karma producing a fortunate rebirth due to positive actions in past lives

5) karma producing an unfortunate rebirth due to negative karma in past lives

What is karma-vipaka?

Karma-Vipaka. The actions of Karma. Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

It is the ripened effects of karma. The term karma-vipaka also applies to the experience itself, in contrast to the actions which produced the experience.

Karma-vipaka is karma with a visible result. Karma does not perpetuate itself; it needs to be activated by our own volition and will. The karma we created in the past has ripened; karma-vipaka is karma about to produce a result that we can see or feel now.

In karma-vipaka, karma is here and now, that is a result that will occur within this lifetime. These results can include happiness and unhappiness resulting from our karma that still remains to be experienced. In this life, the karma ripens in accordance with the karma-vipakacandra that was present at a previous death.

Our karma, much like a seed, contains within it the potency of future fruit, future circumstance, or future experience. If this karma-candra is negative and has not been purified, it will ripen as pain and suffering in the next life.

There are karma ripening in this lifetime that we feel now, karma that ripens into experiences in the next life and karma from previous lives. This karma that has been accumulated carries us from one life to another creating the situations that we experience.

We should accept our karma as it is, not as we wish it was, and try to see the lessons that karma has brought us. It may not always be easy to digest karma but if we learn from our experinces and actions, karma can show us the way in life. The lessons are harsh at times because karma is supposed to remind us of past karmic actions and the need to change – for better or for worse.

We may have to struggle. We may have to be in pain. We probably won’t get what we want, we will get what we need. And sometimes that need is a lesson in living calmly, serenely, and without causing harm to others.

Accept your Karma and be content.

And finally…

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve liked today’s article. Don’t forget to follow this happy human on Twitter, remember to subscribe, and leave comments. I’d love to know what you think!

All the best,

Matt The Happy Human

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The best burger.

I was asked on Reddit “What is the best burger you’ve ever had?”

I cast my mind back to some creative cookery I was doing a couple of years ago and remembered this…

My best burger was home made using 5% fat mince made from lean rump steak.

I added wholemeal bread crumbs while blending it with free-range egg, salt and black pepper.

A little bit of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco was dripped onto the beef while forming the patty.

I cooked that burger on the hottest, sizzling skillet I could use. The gas flames were roaring like a jet engine beneath that pan.

And here’s the real kicker, this made it amazing.

Trust me on this… Don’t add lettuce, there’s no need for green stuff, cheese or pickles.

Serve it on a hotcross bun that has been made with dark chocolate in the dough.

Thank me later 🍔

What was your best burger? Tell me about it in the comments.

Podcast – The world I believe in is one where embracing your light doesn’t mean ignoring your dark

If you prefer to listen, instead of reading, here’s the audio podcast of today’s blog. I hope that you like it!

Let me know what you think!

On anchor.fm: https://anchor.fm/thishappyhuman/episodes/The-world-I-believe-in-is-one-where-embracing-your-light-doesnt-mean-ignoring-your-dark-e1cukqi

And on YouTube:

The world I believe in is one where embracing your light doesn’t mean ignoring your dark

Light and dark. Photo by Cu00e1tia Matos on Pexels.com

I believe in a world where the darkness that lives within all of us is not something to be pushed down or hidden, but rather one where it’s embraced and used, in order for growth. Kevin Breel provided the quotation at the top of todays article

I’ve watched a video of Kevin speaking. If you haven’t heard his story I suggest you find it and take the time to watch it. If you’d rather read a transcript of his appearance at TedX you can find it here.. https://singjupost.com/kevin-breel-confessions-of-a-depressed-comic-at-tedxkidsambleside-transcript/

He spoke about his struggle with depression in a light that spoke of honesty, humour, intelligence, and thoughtfulness.

This is not something I see very often.

Depression is a topic that’s so often shrouded by taboo, hidden behind closed doors, and not spoken about. What he spoke of wasn’t just something that affected him but it was an issue that affects us all in different ways. Whether we’re speaking of mental or physical health issues or any form of ‘identity crisis’; there’s something to learn from what he said.

The world I believe in is one where everyone is kind to each other, even if they don’t know the person at all.

The world I believe in is one where we embrace who we are and look out for those around us. In a time where so much of the news speaks of hatred and self-obsession, this message is one that everyone needs to hear.

It’s important to have goals in life and work towards something, but it’s also important to celebrate the good within yourself. We all have bad days where we feel like giving up but I believe Kevin really hit the nail on the head when he said that “We need both sides of the story. We need to know our darkness, we need to sit with it and we need to decide what makes us feel alive and passionate and purposeful”

To me this signifies many things:

1. That no matter how hard you hit rock bottom, there will always be a reason to come back up.

2. That you don’t have to wait for a mental health crisis in order to get help.

3. That it’s okay to ask for help and you should never be ashamed of doing so if you need support from someone outside of your situation.    

4. Darkness can be seen as a sign that something needs changing, but that doesn’t mean you need to be upset. It’s a signpost pointing towards growth and development. Seek out the light. It’s there.

5. That it is important to look after yourself, both physically and mentally. This doesn’t just mean eating well or exercising but taking time out of your day for yourself in order to relax the mind and body.

6. Taking care of yourself also includes knowing when you need support and asking for it.   

What we do, we do because we love doing it…

The world I believe in is one where the buzz doesn’t wear off and what makes us happy is often what’s good for us.

This can be applied to anything and everything depending on your situation; work, education, hobbies and interests.

I believe in a world where we don’t need to put on our “happy masks” every day but that we should be allowed to take time out if we need it. The people around us should know when something is wrong and there should always be room for discussion about mental health.   

I believe the world can be a better place if it encourages the good in everyone, rather than looking for something to talk about when there’s bad. This is not just true of mental health but general conversation as well.

I would love to see the world being brought together by positivity and kindness instead of self-interests and negativity. We’ve all had bad times and we’ve all had great times; it’s our uniqueness that makes us who we are. I believe everyone should be able to embrace their light, but make efforts in understanding their darkness as well.

The message Kevin brought was a very important one and while not new – it is something people need to hear more often. If you’d like to learn more about Kevin and his work following a career in acting, speaking, and writing – you can find him here:

www.kevinbreel.com

My darkness and how I accepted it.

I’ve had some very dark and depressing times in my life. Several years ago, my life was a mess. I was constantly trying to balance work commitments with an addiction to alcohol. The turmoil within my mind was a huge burden. I was looking for a way out. I was in a state of mind that was very close to me taking my own life.

I knew that I needed to work so that I could placate the roaring, overwhelming need to drink. A lack of confidence in my abilities, coupled with thinking that I was an imposter in my job role was weighing very heavily on my mental health.

I was trying to distract myself from the raging thoughts wreaking havoc inside my head. Why was I so tormented? I didn’t know how to protect my boundaries and I didn’t know how to deal with the irresistible urge to poison my body, mind and soul with booze.

I thought I could handle everything in my own way. My methods of self-care were terrible at best, and downright dangerous at worst.

One morning, I made an appointment to see my family doctor. I received help and some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. My mindset changed. Slightly. I found that my needs could be met if I asked for help. The CBT didn’t stop me drinking and that continued for another ten years.

Burying pride and asking for help

I have buried my pride on several occasions since then. The most important one happened in the summer of 2020. I’d stopped drinking, but I couldn’t figure out how to stay stopped. Every day was a constant mental exercise in trying to convince myself that I was ok. I was in a dangerous place. I was only one short walk away from buying booze again.

I sought help for my addiction to alcohol. I searched for how to stop drinking and found it in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I’m now almost two years sober. Not only do I have the strength to overcome the urges and desires to drink, I also don’t feel weighed down by the mental obsession about where I’m going to find my next drink.

Life still has its ups and downs. They are normal. Everyone has to deal with crises, the car breaking down, bereavements, redundancy.

Thanks to AA and people like Kevin Breel, I no longer have that paralysing fear that I am not capable. I no longer have the overwhelming mindset of doom that existed even when things were going well in relationships and at work. To overcome my darkness, I first had to understand it and embrace it.

If you’re struggling, seek help. Lean on people. If they cannot help, keep searching and asking until you find the answers that you need to be happy.

I did it and so can you.

And finally…

Thanks for reading, and if you prefer to listen, visit the podcast on spotify.

All the best,

Matt The Happy Human

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Podcast – You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go.

If you prefer to listen, instead of reading, here’s the audio podcast of today’s blog. I hope that you like it!

Let me know what you think!

On anchor.fm: https://anchor.fm/thishappyhuman/episodes/You-take-people-as-far-as-they-will-go–not-as-far-as-you-would-like-them-to-go-e1ct7b1

And on YouTube:

You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go.

Helpful hands reaching out.
Helpful hands reaching out. Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

This is a lesson that parents have to learn early on, and a lesson that many leaders of the past have also had to understand. We can help people through their hardships, but we can’t get annoyed if they don’t have the strength to push themselves any further.

Instead, we have to learn when it is time to let them handle things on their own without our help.

When parents see their children falling down and tripping over themselves, they automatically want to go pick them right back up and dust them off. But if we look at this from a more practical perspective, we find that oftentimes pushing someone too quickly can end up hurting them worse. Insetad, allowing them to learn from their mistakes at a slower pace is the best course of action.

We need to make sure that we set people up for success rather than setting them up for failure. If we do this, we can give them the opportunity to succeed in life instead of forcing them down a path that is bound to end in failure.

Encouragement needs restraint and patience

We all need encouragement to succeed in life. But when you are encouraging someone during their bad times, sometimes it’s best to resist the urge because you have no idea how much more they can take before completely giving up on themselves.

Every time we push too hard and set people up for failure, we can be doing them a disservice by making them feel like they have no chance to succeed.

We need to understand when we can give up and when we should not let go, so that we can determine the best way to help the people around us who seem to be in desperate need of assistance.

When encouragement is pushed too far it becomes a burden rather than something helpful and supportive. If we mishandle the way that we push someone to become better, they can come to resent our help and think of us as being a nuisance.

We have to learn when people need us the most and when it’s time for them to handle things on their own. We can’t be so caught up in trying to help everyone around us.

We have to accept that we know more than others and that others know more than us. How many times have we been pushed into doing something we didn’t want to do? There is a fine line between encouragement and breaking someone because the task is too great for them.

Life can be tough. We all have limits and boundaries. I have many of them! A lot of people wanted me to work harder, do more, and be successful in their eyes. They didn’t stop to think and ask what my definition of success was. I was encouraged to go to university. It wasn’t for me. It was the wrong thing to do at that point in my life.

University and the relative freedoms that it gave me, made me veer off in a direction that wasn’t healthy for my body, or my state of mind. Yes, I took drugs, yes I got drunk, and that set in motion a chain of events that were a burden well into my forties.

I was too eager to live up to other people’s expectations. I didn’t have the courage to say no. I didn’t want to disappoint my father, but that’s what happened. I went to university for a year and then dropped out. I simply didn’t have the abilities nor the confidence in myself to be myself.

I’m a man with a laptop for typing, and a microphone for recording my thoughts, my experiences, and also my hopes. My confidence comes from knowing that I think this website will be successful – as defined by my definition of success. Not yours, not the bank, not a single soul on the planet, other than me, can decide what I think is successful. I hope that you have the same mindset.

I’m not going to push you, dear reader, into doing anything. You have the ultimate choice as to what you do. Maybe you’d don’t want to hear this, but I think its necessary to be pushed until we say ‘stop, that’s enough’. What we need at that point is acceptance of who we are and the willingness to try again at a later date.

I have to observe other people. I have to learn from them. I need reassurance that it’s ok to take the next step. This stems from a lack of trust. I find it difficult to have faith in an activity that I haven’t seen or done before.

I write a blog because I think it’s the right thing for me to do now. Do I want to own a publishing empire? Not at this moment. I am at a point that is as far as I’d like to go for now.

Tomorrow I may decide that yes, I’d like to take on the great publishing houses and host websites for thousands or maybe millions of people. I’ll deal with that thought tomorrow!

My hopeful and optimistic mindset.

A black and white photo of letter blocks spelling out the word 'hope'.
Hopeful photo by Lynnelle Richardson on Pexels.com

I hope that my blog will help others. I hope there is something positive in it for you, but I’m not going to push my blog on you. That would be foolish as well as egotistical on my part.

I want to make my mark on the world, but I’m not going to push myself over everyone else and create a disaster of shattered dreams and disappointed expectations. We all have our limits and we must accept them and live within those boundaries.

I hope that your boundaries make you feel safe without being fearful of opportunities. I don’t know whether a good kick up the backside will spur me on or make me resentful. I suppose it depends on who is doing the kicking!

I’ve received a lot of suggestions and advice throughout my life from people that haven’t been there, seen it, and done it.

Choose your mentors and advisors well. Some people will make recommendations just to see you fail.

And on that note…

Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts. Please remember to follow This Happy Human on twitter, subscribe to the mailing list, and leave comments! I’d love to know what you think.

All the best,

Matt The Happy Human

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Thankful Thursday

I start the day by being grateful for the air in my lungs and the blood pumping through my veins.

That’s my foundation to having a good day.

I also know that if my day turns sour, for whatever reason, I can restart it by being grateful for what I’ve got. Even though that may include stress, anxiety and unresolved problems.

I am alive!

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