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guaranteed happiness

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Showing 1-18 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 25, 2013 1:14:26 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 3, 2013 9:16:06 AM PST
INSTRUCTIONS: Count every breath. Do it for at least 2 weeks before reading further or deciding it doesn't work

Posted on Jan 26, 2013 3:53:10 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 3, 2013 9:23:35 AM PST
IIt works for me. I counted breath 275 just before stopping to write this. Was alert, tuned in to sensory input, and enjoyed the probable 55 minutes it took to take those 275.

Of course, I took responsibility for counting those breaths. Taking responsibility for one's self is a pre-requisite. We each are responsible for our own happiness or unhappiness.

I once wrote that on a website where many depressedc people were posting. I was immediately attacked, told how wrong I was, that I just didn't understand. Those attacking me insisted that other people, the way the world works, their bad luck was responsible for their being depressed. I believe that in doing this they were guaranteeing their continued unhappiness.

Don't recall how or if I responded to the attacks.

Posted on Jan 27, 2013 4:53:22 PM PST
Hope others try it and report back here on their results. I'm curious if it works as well for others as it does for me. So no guarantee other than one that you won't need to try it long before you start learning things about yourself you didn't know before.

Posted on Jan 27, 2013 11:55:40 PM PST
I use counting breaths to help me keep working on habits I want to change. For example, my breathing habits. Like almost everyone, I took very few healthy breaths during a day. A healthy breath is one that starts with exhaling completely, and finishes with inhaling completely to totally fill the lungs with air as fresh as you live in. I know I took more than 300, after waking about 11:30 and before sitting down here with a chamomile tea to write and wait til I feel sleepy enough to go back to bed. How many breaths have you counted? How many were healthy ones?

Posted on Jan 29, 2013 10:34:59 AM PST
Tarthang Tulku, a Tibetan Buddhist guru in San Francisco and north, has written that it is a good idea to keep your mouth slightly open, both when exhaling and inhaling. In the much drier climate of NM, I find just on exhaling works better.

354 was my count when I stopped to write this. I learned over the past day, that unless I play quite close attention, even when counting breaths, I often breath quite shallowly---fail in making every breath a healthy one. Exhaling thru my mouth does help me with that. It also helps me to exhale more completely.

I read a study that normal (which really means average) breathing rate is 16 breaths a minute. I find that hard to believe, but the article was written by a well respected researcher. Less than 4 seconds per breath can't be average. I'd feel like I was panting if I breathed that fast. Wrong, Rusty! You just tried it and did 19 easily and comfortably. Now when I pay attention, my rate ranges from 4.5-8.5 per minute. I can very easily fall back into unhealthy breathing unless I keep paying attention and really establish a new breathing habit.

Posted on Jan 30, 2013 4:09:10 PM PST
I have been staying with being aware of every breath, have counted many, and a lot of them have been healthy ones. But I've lost awareness a number of times. Obviously I need to continue training myself to pay attention.

Counting breaths automatically brings a person to their here and now. "Be or stay in the here and now." I have read many books highly recommending this as a road to leading the good life, happiness, etc. I have never read one that gave a specific instruction on how to do it like mine: "Count every breath." Many of them go on for one or more chapters on "being here now." My simple 3 word instruction, if followed, will do people more good than reading all the books advertised here and elsewhere on the web on how to be happy and lead the good life.

Will that sell anyone on trying it, and reporting back in "The Key to Happiness"topic? I hope so, but...

Posted on Feb 1, 2013 10:04:26 AM PST
Another guru, Philip Kapleau, in one of the earliest books published here that gave many details on how to practice Zen, "The Three Pillars of Zen", had his roshi, Yasutani saying that simply sitting in one of the approved poses and paying attention to breathing for 15 minutes would result in a good and happy life. Kapleau, like many Zen masters, has gotten in trouble because of having sex with young female students. Yasutani never dubbed him a master, so he dubbed himself so.

The doubtful behavior of many Zen masters, as well as other spiritual teachers like Christian ministers, make me quite suspicious of all of them. I can recommend the Quakers, now dubbed "Friends." Even with them, leaders do appear, and I may not have gone to their Sunday services long enough to pick up on the power struggles etc.. that seem to develop in any kind of organization.

Being easy on myself, accepting Yasutani's 15 minute a day comment, and finding that today I kept losing count repeatedly, only getting up to 400 by mid morning, I'll suggest that anyone trying to "count every breath" be easy on themselves. Perhaps not as easy as many Zen masters tend to be, but spiritual discipline that gets into self punishment is something I don't recommend. However, each to his own taste.

I feel good about a day's practice if I simply have done my best. I try to avoid good/bad evaluations of myself or anybody else. I continually find myself doing it. Ah, well...

Breaths can be counted many different ways. This morning I was trying to see how many I'd count in a whole day. Then I switched to seeing how many til I lost count, and going back to 1 for another round. If you try breath counting, go ahead, invent your own.

Don't impose on yourself the difficult and formal sitting many spiritual masters do. That's for their benefit, not the student's. More students can be handled, and incidentally or not,, more money be made the more students there are in the zendo, congregation, etc. I believe that a flexible all day practice of counting breaths on your own will get better results for most people.

This from someone who went to a number of sesshins, tried working with 6 or 7 different zen masters. A bit cynical, but I do like to think I have learned from my 80+ years of experience.

Posted on Feb 4, 2013 8:30:44 AM PST
A major benefit I, or anyone it will get from counting breaths is it interferes with the constant conversation going on in our heads. I have read that some/many people have 2, 3,, r more people talking in their heads: mom, dad, teachers, even themselves. I hear only my own voice talking there, but I take many roles: writer, planner, conversationalist, anticipator, rememberer.

Over the years, I have become quite clear: almost all that talk up there is useless: never ends in any action. When he/I get around to it, a remembered first sentence may or may not be there. Remembering certainly is useless, the past being dead and gone, I can do nothing to change it. Ditto for most of my planning: the situation has changed by the time I start working on something. Practically never is an imagined conversation useful in the real world

I believe that words are useful in making ourselves happy or unhappy. So silencing or controlling that constant conversation up there is useful. But that can be done only if we listen to ourselves. Even then, many believe they can't control their own thoughts. One approach many use is to keep constantly busy. Again, to each his own taste, I believe counting breaths works better for me, maybe for you.

Posted on Feb 5, 2013 10:43:28 AM PST
Do you make yourself unhappy with words? The words that run through your head, whether in your own voice or that of others, have this potential. Let's say someone in your childhood repeatedly told you how bad you were. Listening to that is likely to make you unhappy.

Go to counting your breaths to partly turn that voice off. I can't turn my own voice off except for relatively short periods of time. But I do pay attention to what the various kinds of talkers there say. None of them run me down.

Then take charge of the voice telling you how bad you are. I'm imagining an argument in someone's head. Me: Dad, I'm sick and tired of listening to that, stop it! Dad: Who do you think you are, you little punk? Me: I'm alive and still kicking, you're dead and have rotted in your casket. I'm going to stop helping you run me down. Ah, Dad went silent, and I turned back to listening and counting my breath.

Many people would have to repeat little dramas like the above over and over, perhaps for years. That is much better than staying unhappy and passively listening.

But the fhe first requirement is counting breaths, becoming conscious of what you are doing to yourself by staying in the past much of the time. Everything starts with the breath counting!!!

Posted on Feb 5, 2013 1:14:47 PM PST
John Bryan says:
John Bryan teaches how to develop your own internal Random Access Memory to use when confronted with a stressful situation. Following the principals outlined in this very readable book, a reader automatically searches their newly developed memory with the speed of a highly developed RAM and pulls up the "affirmations" loaded into your internal RAM, which provide instant guidance to resolve stressful decisions in a positive manner.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2013 2:47:56 PM PST
Just to keep this discussion on the first page.

Posted on Feb 7, 2013 3:27:56 PM PST
PM says:
I don't know which is a bigger waste of time...counting my breaths, or reading this thread about counting my breaths. It's a toss up!!

Posted on Feb 13, 2013 10:38:13 AM PST
Many people seem to know very little of what they do. Counting breaths and making attention to your body the second priority is an excellent way to learn about yourself. Do you tap your feet or fingers nervously? Is that how you want to appear to others? Do you habitually smile, frown, look worried, look angry? If you want to know look in the mirror. Do you like what you see?

Feedback from others gives you information as well, but you have to try to make sure it's honest. Most isn't because most people assume you only want to hear complimentary things. Perhaps most people do want to hear only compliments, and have no idea they can change and make themselves happier.s

I just stopped inging as a way of staying here and now. I started doing it when I found that simple counting breaths or simple trying to stay aware of every breath wasn't working.

Inging is coordinating a gerund (a verb ending in ing) with each and every breath. I can coordinate the gerunds in several ways. One is telling myself the first part of the word as I inhale, and then slowly telling and listening to an extended "ing" as I exhale.

Another is to do the entire gerund while inaling and stating what it applies to while exhaling. For example, typing th word typing. It just took me 3 tries to do that right just now. When I'm doing simpler, less intellectual tasks then writing, I find the coordination much easier: Tasting this bite, chewing it longer, swallowing, taking another spoonful, seeing my lunch partner, deciding to not talk, concntrating on the taste, etc. etc.

Why do such a nonsensical (to many) exercise? It does pretty effectively block out those other voices in your head, and even your own voice going on uselessly. I find I enjoy my food much more when I do it. I get far more pleasure out of eating than if I let myself be distracted from the present moment and what I am doing right now.

More pleasure in life seems to be of little interest to the many who are hurrying through their life, concentrating on becoming richer and more successful. They say they want to slow down, and if they repeatedly coordinated "slowing down" with their breating they might actually do it. But that future goal is more important than slowing down and getting more pleasure out of life. That can wait until he/she is rich and successful.

My tryng to put myself into other people's heads may be a total failure. So I'll stop, ask, and hope for some feedback. I welcome honest statements that might range from, "What you wrote fits the way my head works perfectly" to "I can't find myself in what you've written at all."

Posted on Mar 6, 2013 1:50:06 PM PST
Our five senses present us with a vast complexity from which we select a small part and call it "the world." It is "our world" and is different from everyone else's. I find the idea that I would select and pay attention to the same things as you ridiculous.

I create my world consciously and deliberately. I ignore, pay no attention to things I don't want in my world. The world I create is a happy one, but is also realistic in that nothing pops out and hits me in the face. I consciously create my emotions by choosing the words that create them.

Everyone does as I do, consciously or unconsciously. I hope to read how others describe their world and how they feel about it.

Posted on Mar 21, 2013 8:03:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 21, 2013 8:06:36 PM PDT
BAM says:
I learned something recently about our breathing: it stimulates the flow of lymph fluid.

In one study of athletes, who were at the top of their game, they were asked to exercise on a treadmill while their lymph flow was monitored. No matter how hard or fast they exercised, the maximum flow rate of their lymph topped out at 10 or 11. Please don't ask me how the numbers were gathered. Then a curious thing happened when the athletes got off the treadmill and sat down and started gasping for breath after the peak exercise exertion. The flow rate on their lymph jumped to more than double their peak exercise lymph flow.

This is HUGE when you consider importance of your lymph system--it is twice as big as your circulatory system and is responsible for major housekeeping in your body.

So, in addition to big full breaths, throw in a few big gasping ones as well. :)

Posted on Mar 22, 2013 12:57:42 PM PDT
OldAmazonian says:
Believe nothing matters, and everything's gravy.

Posted on Mar 22, 2013 1:02:26 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 22, 2013 1:57:20 PM PDT]

Posted on May 28, 2013 11:02:54 AM PDT
Sammea says:
To Be from misery is as simple as making a choice to live today and tomorrow without yesterday, keeping all lessons learned close to your heart and realizing that self evolution is necessary in order to reach each new level of you. Everything is made with an alternative, just hope we chose the right one... Getting Out Of Your Way is essential in your journey of becoming a brand new you, both spiritually and naturally. The premise of our destiny's is altered and molded based on our past and our long term reaction to the things we experience in life. Happiness, Peace, Joy, Forgiveness, Success, Love, and Strength can all be obtained by simply choosing the positive versus the hand you have been dealt. It is easier said than done to just "get over" your past and move on, but sometimes its just not that easy. How do I accept my past and turn what I thought was/is a negative experience or circumstance into something that will transform my life for the good? How do I push past my pain? How do I capitalize off of my hurt? How do I forgive those who have violated me? How do I forgive myself, and stop making excuses of why I'm stuck in this place? Unfortunately there is no quick fix to becoming better than your yesterday, there isn't a magic pill you can take that will make it all better, or a button you can press to rewind or erase your past. You have to want it, and be willing to fight for it! You have to be willing to Get Out Of Your Own Way using every tool that God has equipped you with to engage in a war for your life.

Check this book out "Getting Out Of My Way" by Falene Best
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Discussion in:  Self-help forum
Participants:  6
Total posts:  18
Initial post:  Jan 25, 2013
Latest post:  May 28, 2013

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