The End of Suffering

As Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” I believe that our journey during this passage here on Earth should be one of seeking greater understanding in order to experience the cessation of suffering. Liberation from suffering — the attainment of a calm peace and lasting happiness — comes from the practice of deep and diligent observation and examination of life. I believe that one of the most important things we can do during our lifetime is to continuously and carefully examine our beliefs in order to consciously unlearn the wrong notions we may have unconsciously learned and adopted. This practice of looking deeply into the nature of reality brings about a greater awareness which makes it easier to identify and remove wrong perceptions. This expanded view and comprehension also brings us more peace by reducing our judgment, criticism, and condemnation, and by enhancing our acceptance, compassion, and love.

Through diligent observation we become acutely aware, for instance, of the continuous transformation and impermanence of everything. This realization removes a major source of suffering in life: attachments. If we come to recognize that everything changes, that nothing lasts forever, that nothing is created and nothing is lost, but everything is transformed; if we realize, by detailed observation, that something cannot become nothing; if we understand that there is no birth and no death, but all that there is is continuous transformation, continuation, and reintegration with the whole, we remove one of the major obstacles for lasting happiness: the fear of death.

Through conscientious scrutiny, we also come to realize that there is no isolated self, that we all are intensely interrelated, and that, therefore, as the Buddha said, “nothing, whatsoever, should be clung to as I, me, or mine,” because this selfing and clinging ate sources of suffering.

If we want to look deeply into the nature of reality and have a clearer understanding, mindfulness meditation is probably the best practice. In this aspect, it is very much like science, and meditators are very much like scientists who observe phenomena thoroughly, with great curiosity and ardency,  while constantly checking to make sure they are not lost in a territory of wrong perceptions, fantasies, and illusions.

I would like to encourage you to dedicate yourself to the mission of observing and understanding yourself and your own patterns of behavior. This shall expand your ability to make wiser choices and alleviate whatever suffering you may be experiencing.

And if we are able to continue on this path, practicing mindfulness diligently, perhaps we can become examples of lives well lived. Perhaps we will inspire others to engage in this work of paying attention to life, and perhaps this is what will reveal to them a way out of suffering. This is a noble endeavor and a greater reminder that our practice is not selfish; we don’t practice for ourselves alone.

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Nirvana (Sanskrit) or Nibbana (Pali) are words that describe a state of being in which people experience the extinction of the fires of attachment, hatred and delusion that cause suffering.

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Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

Reintegrating with the Whole

Leslie Lott, my dear friend and the author of “Heaven’s Perspective,” wrote:

“When we are in a body, we often feel separate from the others in the universe. We are not, of course. All things are part of the larger ONE. Still, when in a body, our skin is a physical barrier that separates us from others. But when our bodies die, the barrier of separation is gone! When we transition back to non-physical, there is a joyful and conscious reintegration with the whole.

To understand this more clearly, imagine a beautiful soap bubble floating outdoors in the sunlight. The light hits it and it shines with different colors as it moves. Then, suddenly it pops. That which was within the bubble does not suddenly disappear, does it? Certainly the outer barrier of the bubble is gone, but what about what was inside that beautiful bubble? It merely merges back with the rest of the air.

In a similar way, when our physical bodies die, when our body bubbles burst, that which is within us– our divinity, our essence, the soul– reintegrates with the larger ONE from whence it came. We maintain our awareness of self as an individual while merging back into the oneness of that which is called heaven, our true home.

This realization came to me as Jack Bloomfield, Piero Falci and I sat at the beach this morning gently releasing One Planet United. It occurred to me that this is not an ending for One Planet United, but rather a merging of the ideas from OPU back into the larger universe. The paradigm shift from seeing it as an ending to seeing it as a merging into, a reintegration into the larger whole felt so incredibly good that I’ve decided to ask my loved ones to have a joyful Reintegration Celebration when my own bubble bursts and I return to true home.

Blessed be.

So be it, and so it is.”

……..

For many years, with great passion and dedication, we operated a nonprofit organization, but the the time came when we had to let it go. All of us who were originally involved with One Planet United were now contributing to the betterment of the world in other ways, and we didn’t have the time to attend to the demands of keeping the organization operating as it should. We tried to find new leadership, we tried to pass the baton on, but we were not successful. After many attempts to keep it afloat, we decided that it was time to close and gently release it into the Universe. So we decided to do a little ceremony at the beach during sunrise, when we would reminisce about the organization, and say ‘Goodbye.’

There was a little sadness, but also a calm agreement that it was the right thing to do. We understood the changing nature of everything, and were ready to let it go. OPU had served its purpose and played itself out.

But something unexpected happened that morning: a calm, delicious, and nourishing experience. As we were talking about One Planet United we had this sudden realization that OPU didn’t die. It became evident to us that it’s mission and vision remained alive and strong within us. It had always existed and always will. “Embrace diversity, promote unity, and create community,” the phrase that summarizes OPU’s mission, is what we and many others around the globe do, day in and day out. This realization was a great life and death insight for us. In that moment, everything became clear and made sense. As we gently released it, we felt OPU lovingly reintegrating with the whole. The nonprofit organization was no more, but what OPU stood for was, is, and will always be.

Birthless. Deathless.

“There is a Light that lights every man that comes into the world. That Light is Eternal, All-Powerful and Imperishable. Only that which is subject to birth is subject to death. The Light is the extension of God into man. It is not born nor can it die.” ~ Douglas K. DeVorss , in Eulogy for Baird T. Spalding,  in The Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East, Volume 6.

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

 

 

 

I Want to Not Want

So many desires and so much unrest created by this constant wanting! Is it possible to be content? Is it possible to want less? Is it possible to not want?

Well, I guess I am wanting something, right now. As I write these words, I want to understand, accept, and be at peace with the fact that perhaps I will always want, and that wanting is of the nature of being human. I want to understand, accept, and be at peace with the fact that in this life we will always be presented with choices, that our choices will bring about changes, and that change is the natural  movement of the Universe.

What else do I want?

I want to be aware of my likes and dislikes, my wants and don’t wants, my cravings and aversions, and practice to calmly tame my impulses and navigate through this ocean of desires.

Actually, I want to want less. Actually, I want to not want.

I want to be able to expand the amount of time between receiving a stimulus and choosing a response. I want to make thorough assessments, apply wise discernment, and improve my ability to make the best possible decisions.

I am encouraged by the unquestionable truth that all of us can make our lives better by consciously examining them. I want to remember always that “an unexamined life is not worth living,” and keep examining my existence. I want to be awake, alert, attentive, aware, and appreciative of what is going on in each present moment, enjoying the beauty that surrounds me, seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, seeing magic, mystery, and miracles everywhere. I want to immerse myself in this moment, this one — not the previous one, nor the next one — knowing that if I do this, the best version of myself and the best life I can live will emerge naturally.

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

 

 

 

Coping with Discomfort

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”  ~ James Baraz

Mindfulness practice makes us better able to recognize pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feelings, and notice how pleasant events generate attachment, unpleasant ones are associated with aversion, and neutral ones with delusion.

Learning to cope with the discomfort we experience during formal meditation practice — especially when we are invited to be still and not move for extended periods of time — is a great training to enhance the quality of our lives because it may lead to the reduction of mindless reactivity. It develops our noticing skills, especially of what is disturbing us. It also develops patience and endurance, and augments the time between receiving a stimulus and choosing a mindful response.

Many unpleasant sensations may come up during formal meditation practices, especially during those of longer duration. We instruct our students how to work with physical and non-physical discomfort when it shows up. We ask them to notice the pain and the urge to immediately do something about it, and we advise them to hold on and do nothing for a while — if this option is available to them — and just observe what is going on. We ask them to investigate the physical sensations, thoughts and emotions that may be arising, with a “beginner’s mind,” without pushing them away, without hiding from, or running away from them, but getting closer and staying with them a little longer without rushing to react. We tell them to think of the unpleasant sensations as guests who they should welcome and treat honorably see Rumi’s poem, “The Guest House). Many times, the mere introduction of this element of curiosity reduces the discomfort, or dissipates it.

If that does not work, we instruct our students to remove the focus from the pain and refocus on some other ‘object of attention,’ such as the breath. Many times this profound and detailed observation of the breathing process has a calming effect which prevents a thoughtless reaction. It demonstrates that moving the focus of attention to something else other than the discomfort, and observing it with curiosity is another effective way of handling it.

Finally, if after trying these two suggestions meditators still feel that they have to ‘do something,’ such as readjust their postures, we ask them to do so in a very mindful and well thought-out way. Our instructions emphasize the need to take time, not rush, and be very mindful of the entire process. With many possible variations, the instructions may sound like the following:  “Once you have decided that you really want to move, imagine how you will do it, and mentally rehearse the steps you will take to readjust your posture. Visualize the entire process. Play a mental movie, if you will, of how you will move before actually moving. Once this step has been completed, then go ahead and move, but make sure you do it mindfully. This should not be a reaction, but a thoughtful response to the pain and discomfort. Move mindfully. Observe the way you move, observe the physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts, mentally compare the actual movement with the one you imagined. Once the moving is over, check again to see how you feel. Compare the sensations now with those of moments ago.”

This training is invaluable because it makes us better able to stay put in the middle of uncomfortable situations. The practice weakens those conditioned, automatic, fast, habitual, mindless reactions and strengthens the mindfulness mediated responses. It gives us better tools to deal with the stressors in our lives, responding more thoughtfully to the triggers that activate stress.

We ask our students to become mindful of their automatic reactions and to make an assessment to determine if those habitual reactions are producing outcomes that enhance the quality of their lives. Perhaps this is the case. If so, there’s no need to change, but if they are not satisfied with the outcomes, we encourage them to consider using mindfulness skills to explore alternatives, contemplate new options, and try something new, something different that perhaps may be capable of making their lives better. We remind them that “Madness is doing the same things expecting different results,” and we encourage them to ask themselves, “What could I do differently to improve the quality of my life? Am I willing to give it a fair try?”

The training of staying with the unpleasant sensations and refraining from reacting instinctively is of great use in daily life. It allows us to stay comfortable in the middle of uncomfortable situations, augment the time between stimulus and response, which allows to look again at the situation with removed curiosity, see the new in the old, make a better assessment, see new options, and use wise discernment to decide on the best course of action.

Imagine the following internal dialogue: “Oh, I have been challenged. I have been wounded. I feel the urge to react. I am going to strike back. Wait a second, I have done this many times before and what was the outcome? Not a good one. Perhaps I can do what they told me to do in the mindfulness classes. S.T.O.P. Stop. Take a breath. Observe. OK, let me do this before I Proceed. Let me investigate my physical sensations, my emotions, and my thoughts. Yes, I feel a tightening in my throat, a contraction in my chest, a pain in the stomach. My hands a sweaty. My heart is racing. My breath is shallow and fast. I feel anger and rage. I feel aversion to this person and his behavior. OK. Noticing my dislike. Noticing my aversion. Noticing my desire to strike back. Oh, wait a minute. I see: this is my ego at work. Oh, the ego is bruised. Let me be curious. Why is this person acting this way? Oh, I see. Let me go back to my breath. Let me breathe consciously. OK. I am here now. I am here and I’m safe. I know who I am and I know the ground where I stand. Everything is OK. Let me make a wise assessment of the situation, use wise discernment, and choose the best possible course of action. I feel that urge to react subsiding. Interesting! OK, I don’t need to go down the same path I have always traveled with my automatic, habitual, mindless reactions. I can choose a mindfulness mediated response. OK. What am I going to do? How am I going to respond? Let me think this over before I move. And let me move mindfully. OK. I know who I am and I know the ground where I stand. I feel calmer. And it is from this calmness that this knowing brings about that I will act.”

Formal meditation practice develops patience and endurance to stay comfortable in the middle of the uncomfortable. And why would we want to do all this? Because, hopefully, we want to improve the quality of our lives; we want to enhance our physical, mental and emotional well-being by reducing the wear and tear caused by chronic stress.
Mindfulness allows us to get good at noticing the activators of stress. And this is fundamental because “we cannot heal what we cannot feel; we cannot fix what we cannot see; we cannot tame what we cannot name.” Mindfulness makes us better able to recognize stress when it is present by sharpening our ability to notice our body sensations, thoughts, and emotions.
Hopefully, with a better understanding of the Fight, Flight, Freeze reaction, and with the enhancement of noticing skills that diligent mindfulness meditation practice brings about, we may be able to step outside of the swirling circle of chronic stress, and let go of old patterns of behavior, those fast, automatic, habitual, mindless reactions that do not serve us anymore.
We have to remember to ask ourselves “What can I do differently to improve the quality of my life?”
Since it is practically impossible to be mindful all the time, our goal should be to increase the number of mindful moments during our days. One of the phrases that mindfulness practitioners repeat often is “Mindful moments, brief moments, many times,” because, as we know, “It’s not difficult to be mindful; difficult it is to remember to be mindful.”

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect and write, and who not only aspires to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches Mindfulness Meditation and Mindful Living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He leads mindfulness silent retreats and organizes Silent Peace Walks. He lives in Florida, USA. Join his Mindfulness Meditation and Mindfulness Living sessions at Yoga Source in Coral Springs (Sundays at 9:00 AM) and at Shiwa Yoga in Deerfield Beach (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 AM)


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.PeacefulWays.org

This is a good moment, and I will remember it

If a good life is a collection of good moments, then remember to mindfully make of every moment the best it can be!

Stay alert to notice good moments whenever they arise, and do your best to capture them by bringing down your plane from the high altitude of your thoughts and landing it on this present moment, with all the feelings it brings about. Pause to mindfully notice the weather, the sights and sounds, the thoughts and emotions, the sensations in your body, and take it all in. Record the experience in your memory by saying to yourself, “This is a good moment, and I will remember it!”

Not only notice the good moments that arise spontaneously, but also create joyful moments deliberately. Do your best to populate your days with things, activities, people, and places you love by creating and spending time in environments you love, nurturing good friendships, and choosing to do the activities you like.

Create the life you want to live by filling your days with moments of joy.

Appreciate! Be grateful!

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want the Inner Peace that comes from…

At the beginning of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course, a program that I teach, we ask the participants “What do you want to get out of this program?” And soon after that, we ask, “What do you really, really, really want?”

Although I ask myself this question quite often, I recently decided to do a deeper reflection. So I paused, centered myself, and asked again: “What do I really, really, really want?” And the answer that came to me this time was, “I want to want less.”

What do I want?

I want the inner peace that comes from feeling that I do enough, that I have enough, and that I am enough, and that I don’t need to do more, have more, or be more. I want the inner peace that comes from feeling content with what I do, what I have, and whom I am.

I want the inner peace that comes from accepting death, knowing that we all die and that we all don’t die.

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

 

 

 

It’s just a thought – 3

In order to preserve our sanity, many times it’s useful to remember to say to ourselves, “It’s just a thought.”

Let’s pause for a moment and ponder: What are these things we call thoughts? What are their characteristics, features, qualities? It doesn’t take a lot of observation to realize that thoughts are just ephemeral mental formations. They come and go. They arise, are present for a moment, and soon vanish. Thoughts are not only ephemeral; they are also insubstantial. They are not real. They are temporary and empty mental formations.

Thoughts are also independent. It is as if we are carrying around an independent thought-producing machine. When we become able to observe our thoughts and notice their independent nature, then we can liberate ourselves from their grip by realizing that we are not our thoughts.

And whenever thoughts bring about disturbing emotions, it’s also useful to remember to say to ourselves, “It is OK to feel like this. It’s just a short-lived emotion that will soon go away.” Because just like thoughts, emotions are also ephemeral and insubstantial.

Observing thoughts and emotions is very liberating. The ability to observe thoughts and emotions without being carried away by them, without being owned by them, without allowing them to get a hold of us, is very empowering.

So, whenever they arise, try not to push them away. Observe them with removed and dispassionate interest. Observe the desire to push them away but get closer to your disturbing thoughts and emotions instead. And if necessary, remember to say to yourself, “What I am thinking is not actually happening right now. It’s just a fleeting thought, and thoughts are not real. I am not my thoughts. The thought of this occurrence is not the actual occurrence. The thought of this person is not the actual person. The thought of this thing is not the actual thing. It’s just a thought. And it is OK to feel what I am feeling right now. It’s OK to feel like this. These are just transient mind states that will soon pass away.” 

……..

“It’s just a thought, and life, in this moment, is not this thought. It’s just a thought. Thoughts are not real. Thoughts are just thoughts. Thoughts think themselves. The thought of a thing is not that thing. The mind has a mind of its own. I am not my thoughts.”

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com