Sunday, February 20, 2011

Create Time To Change Your Life

This is a great article written by Leo Babauta author and creator of the great Zen blog, Zenhabits ( He speaks very simply on a variety of ways that you can make time, simplify and make a positive change in your life. I very much liked the article especially the first step: Make a Commitment....Enjoy the post...tell me what you think...
Create Time To Change Your Life
When I decided to change my life a little over 5 years ago, I had a very common problem: I didn’t have the time.
I wanted to exercise and find time for my family and eat healthier (instead of the fast-food junk I’d been eating) and read more and write and be more productive and increase my income.
Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day, and we sleep for about 8 of them. Subtract the hours we spend eating (3), showering and dressing and fixing up (1), cleaning and running errands (1), driving (2), working (8) … and you’re left with an hour or two at most. Often less.
Eventually I figured out how to do all the things I wanted to do. I’ve achieved all of that and more, and in fact I have more leisure time now than ever. But first I had to figure out the fundamental problem: how could I find the time to change my life?
I know many of you face the same problem — you’ve told me as much. So I thought I’d share some of what I did in the beginning, in hopes that it’ll help.

The First Step

You must make a commitment. You have to decide that you really want to make a change, and that it’s more important than almost anything else.
For me, only my family was more important — and in fact I was making these change for my family as well as for myself. So these changes I was making were really my top priority in life.
It has to be that urgent for you. Think of this not as “improving your life” but saving it. The changes I made saved my life — I am so much healthier, my marriage is better, my relationships with my kids have improved, I am happier rather than depressed.
If you don’t feel you’re saving your life then you won’t make the tough changes needed.

Next Steps

Once I made the mental commitment, I took small steps to give myself a little wiggle room to breathe and move:
  • Cut out TV. I watched less TV than ever before (eventually I watched none, though now I watch a few shows a week over the Internet). For many people this one change will free up a couple hours or more.
  • Read less junk. I used to read a lot of things on the Internet that were just entertainment. Same with magazines. I cut that stuff out early so I could focus on what was more important.
  • Go out less. I used to go to a lot of movies and to dinner and drinking. I cut that out (mostly) for awhile, to make time.
  • Wake earlier. Not everyone is going to do this but it was a good step for me. I found that I had more time exercising and working in the morning before anyone woke up — the world was quiet and at peace and without interruptions. (Read more.)
In general, find the things that eat up your time that are less important than the changes you want to make. That’s almost everything except the things you need to live — work and eating and stuff like that. Cut back on them where you can.

Simplify Commitments

I had a lot of commitments in my life — I coached soccer, was on the PTA board, served on a lot of committees at work, had social commitments as well, worked on a number of projects.
Slowly I cut them out. They seemed important but in truth none of them were as important as the life I wanted to create, the changes I wanted to make. Lots of things are important — but which are the absolute most important? Make a decision.
If you are having trouble making a decision, try an experiment. Cut out a commitment just for a little while. See whether you suffer from cutting it out, or whether you like the extra time.
If you’re worried about offending people, don’t. Send an email or make a phone call and explain that you’d love to keep doing the commitment but you just don’t have the time and don’t want to half-ass it. The person might try to talk you into staying but be firm — respect yourself and your time and the changes you’re trying to make.
Here’s a secret: the people and organizations you’ve been helping or working with will live. They will go on doing what they were doing without you, and (omg!) they will survive without you. Your departure will not cause the world to collapse. Let go of the guilt.

Streamline Your Life

Eventually I made many other changes, including:
  • Making bills and savings and debt payments automatic. I set everything up online so that I wouldn’t have to run errands or spend time making payments. This put my debt reduction on automatic, and I got out of debt. (Read more.)
  • Streamlining errands. I tried to cut as many errands out of my life as possible. Often that meant changing my life in some way but I adjusted and things became simpler. I cleaned as I went so I didn’t have a lot of cleaning to do on weekends. I did the few errands I had all at once to save running around.
  • Work less. I would set limits to how much I could work, forcing myself to pick the important tasks and to get those tasks done on time. I learned which tasks needed to be done and which could be dropped. I became much more effective and worked less.
  • Say no. When people asked me to do stuff that was important to them but not to me, I learned to politely decline. Instead I focused on what was important to me.
Slowly I learned to simplify. I simplified my daily routines, my work, my social life, my possessions, my chores, my wardrobe. It took time but it has been more than worth the effort: life is so much better now that I’ve created the time to do what I want to do.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The fullness of the Dharma

I found this article to be so amazingly poignant and beautiful. The author, Raj Arumugam has put together what it is to be a Buddhist in very simple terms. If you are interested in following a wonderful path then read on!


The fullness of the Dharma

Raj Arumugam (Director, TTS –

Many Buddhist terms and ideas and the teachings of the Buddha, and these teachings as elucidated by contemporary teachers of Buddhism, have become quite widespread and common in popular culture.
So we hear often of compassion.
So we hear often of Buddhist meditation.
Or the Brahma viharas.
Or karuna.. Metta bhavanna.
And of so many other ideas and practices.
But Buddhism is not merely a collection of practices and ideas. For instance, Buddhism is not merely the ideas of karma and love.
These ideas are important but one must pursue each of these ideas to their full perfection. To hold each simply as an idea is merely an intellectual or academic exercise.
And pursuing each teaching to its fullness, one reaches the fullness of Buddhism.
And what is the fullness of Buddhism?


That is the question that one must ask in one’s exploration and pursuit of Buddhism.
One must endeavor to gain an understanding for oneself of what the fullness of Buddhism is. It is not an understanding someone passes on to us but an understanding each must develop and be willing to modify as one continues with one’s exploration of the dharma.
And one must do the same with each idea, through meditation, insight, study and enquiry. For each idea or teaching one must gain an understanding of its fullness.
Without that line of inquiry, without a constant asking of oneself of these questions – What is the fullness of Buddhism? What is the fullness of this teaching or dharma (say compassion or karma) that I am exploring?– one merely has an abstract idea, a teaching that makes no sense. One merely has another toy one plays with in the mind. A toy that satisfies one’s yearning for a while – but is never fully satisfactory.
Let us take the idea of karma, for example.
What is the fullness of the teaching of karma? Like all teachings in Buddhism, one gets to know what karma is over many explorations of the idea, not within a day. Sometimes it may take years, and dare I say, many births.
So again, what is the fullness of the teaching of karma?
Just to see karma as a law is not to see its fullness. Just to see it as cause and effect is not to see its fullness.
So again, what is the fullness of the teaching of karma?
Truly this question is best answered by the individual – but just to illustrate, I might say that the fullness of karma is to see that it relates to interdependence, to the origin of dhukka,and to see pure love and oneness – which in turn brings us to the fullness of Buddhism.

In this manner, if one contemplates on any teaching, fully and deeply, one will come to realize that the fullness of any teaching is the fullness of Buddhism.
So deep insight into karma in this instance is to see the fullness of Buddhism.
And again what is the fullness of Buddhism?
The fullness of Buddhism is completeness, of that stage when all things are done. There is nothing more to be done. The fullness of completeness is perfect knowledge. What is the fullness of perfect knowledge? It is fullness itself. It is completeness itself. This is nirvana. This is perfection. This is nirvana and, as the Buddha taught, there is no more striving beyond nirvana. There is no more beyond nirvana, for there is nothing beyond perfection.


So one can see the fullness of Buddhism through seeing the fullness of each idea and teaching.
To merely see each idea as an idea or as a technique or as a law is to merely see an abstraction that has no transformational power. It is merely a word that interests the mind. Like a new invention or a new form of entertainment that might interest one. To see the fullness of each teaching, however, is to see the fullness of Buddhism itself – which in itself is fullness and perfection.
There is nothing beyond fullness. One has arrived.
One must thus be constantly mindful of seeing the fullness, and this insight into the fullness of the teaching must come from within oneself. To have it pointed out to one and to merely read about it or to listen about it is simply exploring ideas. The teaching remains an uninspiring idea as when a student might learn in a classroom merely for an examination. And, to realize it for oneself, and to understand it oneself is to uphold the teaching of the Buddha. To merely repeat the words of the teacher or to merely accept the teaching of another is simply to follow without understanding. Following without understanding is not what the Buddha encouraged. The Buddha taught one to see the fullness of the dharma – which, in contemporary terms, is to see the fullness of Buddhism, to see perfection itself.


 Raj Arumugam (Director–TTS
(picture from