Month: January 2019

Week 5 Questions for “Know Thyself 2019”: NOW

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week the topic is challenging because you’ll need to focus on the internal behaviours and observe your thoughts! But the hard work will pay off because it’s a step towards greater mental well-being. Challenge accepted? This week’s question topic: NOW When I was growing up, my dad’s desk had a paper on it that said: Do what you are doing. As a child, I never understood that quote.  I always thought, of course I’m doing what I’m doing! Now that I’m older I realize the depth of the instruction to focus your mental energy on what you’re doing.  It’s a command not to be carried away by thoughts about yourself, your goals, desired outcomes and future problems.  It’s also a command to stop remixing thoughts and judgments about the past.  Basically, make sure your mind is singularly involved in doing what you are doing now.  Now is selfless.  It is the contribution of your authentic being, a gift to the world. The …

Week 4 Questions for “Know Thyself 2019”: Disagreement

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week’s question topic: Disagreement As global migration increases, societies become more diverse.  Workplaces bring together equally skilled people who, nonetheless, have highly divergent opinions about all kinds of topics, including social issues, politics, education, culture, sexuality, and ethnicity.  Diversity increases disagreement. It’s ok to disagree with others – you have the right to choose your thoughts!  Holding your tongue when you disagree can make you resentful, feel taken advantage of, or become passive-aggressive. It’s ok to disagree with others but keep your opinion to yourself.  If you don’t know when to pick your battles, you might become frustrated, exhausted, and end up with a bad reputation. This week’s questions are designed to help you understand your reaction to disagreement.  By understanding your reaction, you gain the power to make a conscious choice about how to react in the future. The Questions:  Do you find yourself agreeing with mere opinions (not facts) even when you don’t agree?  …

Week 3 Questions for Know Thyself in 2019: Parent-Child Relationships

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week’s question topic: parent-child relationships I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection. and If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother. The author of the two preceding quotes is Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), an Austrian psychiatrist especially famous for relating all mental abnormalities back to idiosyncrasies in the parent-child relationship. I don’t know if I agree that the parent-child relationship is wholly defining of us, but it is surely fundamental to the people we become.   Human beings need parental figures for survival and social development. The first people you interacted with were probably your parents.  The parent-child relationship is an unavoidable source of tension but it can also be an irreplaceable source of joy. Knowing what you think about your parents can help you understand the source of disagreements.  It can also reveal the source of your expectations for other types of relationships.  Your ideas about …

Should You Fear Death?: A reply to Chi-Tsung’s argument against fear

Not where the monk Chi-tsang lived.  Definitely one of my travel photos from Ngong-Ping, Hong Kong (2018) The Buddhist monk Chi-tsang (549-623) (吉藏 , Jizang; born Sanlun Zung) on his death bed said: Man cherishes birth and fears death as he does not understand the true aspect of birth and death.  Death originates from birth.  Therefore, man should fear birth instead of death.  If I were not born, then I would surely not die.  If birth, the beginning, is realized, then death, the end, will surely be known.  In this sense, man has to be sad about his birth and need not fear death. In other words, human fear of death springs from ignorance of metaphysical facts about existence. When we recognize that the necessity of death actually comes from the state of being born, then the result should be that we transfer our fear to birth (as the source of death) and fear birth instead. Reductio ad absurdum It’s difficult to recognize it at first, but in this quote Chi-tsung provides a reductio ad absurdum argument, …

Week 2 Questions for Know Thyself in 2019: Pleasure

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week’s journal questions are designed to help you own your P L E A S U R E. The ancient Greeks had a philosophy of pleasure, hedonism, which taught people to maximize the amount of pleasure in their lives.  What constitutes a pleasurable activity depends on each person, but pleasure is always associated with the positive emotions of joy, well-being, desire, liking, or enjoyment.  In other words, pleasure is about feeling good. Why is pleasure important to you? Pleasure is important for your mental, emotional, and physical health.  Pleasure-seeking is part of our biological evolution.  The inability to feel pleasure can sometimes be classed as a mental disorder called anhedonia. Not being able to experience pleasure is not usually an illness.  Sometimes it’s simply a result of being out of touch with knowing what gives you pleasure, or you may be repressed as a result of socialization. Women are socialized to believe that pleasure is …

Week 1 Questions for Know Thyself in 2019: Sleep

(This blog post is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019: A Journal Project) S L E E P The question topic might surprise you. Why start a self-knowledge journal asking about something that we’re unconscious for? Two major reasons to figure out your relationship with sleep: Your brain health. Deep thinking and creativity require proper brain function.  If you’re not sleeping well, then your brain isn’t going to function optimally. Your physical health. Your heart, muscles, immune system require adequate sleep.  Stress hormones and insulin resistance increase in response to sleep deprivation. There’s a lot of contradictory advice circulating, such as: Rich and successful people don’t sleep more than 5 hours a night. Human beings need at least 8 hours of sleep. It’s pretty common to be confused about what YOU actually need. Let’s figure it out! Questions: How much sleep do you get on average per night?  (How to know: total how many hours of sleep you’ve gotten in the last 7 nights, and divide that number by 7)  Do you think you get …

Know Thyself in 2019: A Journal Project

The most important thing you can do is learn who you are.  There are so many motivational speakers available to us, so why are we still doing so little with our resources?  I mean, we don’t seem to be getting any happier. That is what we want, right?  Maybe it’s time to admit that motivation enough to find a happy and healthy life. Why write goals and make plans if you don’t know who you are and what you want?  Where does that desire for a six-pack or six-figure income come from? Did society program that want or is it a deep part of who you are? Unless it’s what you really want, then it can’t guarantee happiness. Motivation without self-knowledge is like trying to plan your optimal vacation without knowing where you want to go.  I used to daydream about travel by wishing for a five-star hotel, lying on an exotic beach, sight seeing, touring famous buildings, and meeting the locals.  But because I had no idea who I was, what I liked, what …