In last week’s blog we looked at some high-level teachings of Bhanté, and learned a little about the man himself. This week we will look at some of his philosophies and teachings; let’s jump right in:
If not now, when is the time to engage life, health, healing, discernment and understanding. The virtuous cycles that life us up.
It does not take long and is elegantly simple. It often means turning around or changing direction or slowing down enough to listen, inside and outside.
This is written for you. You can make it happen.
As Hillel the elder says, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me
If I am only for myself, who am I
If not now, When!
Of course, each person’s experience of the practice of these principles is unique.
Be compassionate toward others and yourself. As you would have others be to you.
These principles are universal. He, a simple Buddhist monk, influenced leaders of his time by following these guidelines.
Articulated by him and paraphrased by me these principles and practices are:
- Be here now.
Live at the pace and cadence that allows you to be at ease and fully attentive to the moment.
Bhanté felt Ram Das did a good job both with the book (Be Here Now) and how he grew into the essence of the book over time.
Slow down the inner chatter so you can more fully appreciate the insights and opportunities of the moment. As Lily Tomlin says, “if you want fast acting results, try slowing down.”
Live in a life flow so delicious and delightful that it is painful to be pulled out of that state by events, memories, or urgency. This helps you have flexible yet clear boundaries.
Eckehard Tolle (The Power of Now) and M Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled) express similar views.
- You can apply these principles and practices individually in each moment.
They are articulated below to inform you what to do or not do.
What and when to communicate or not.
How to… be in the flow of service to others before self or not, show up or show off, be here now or not trust the Universe or not, live in harmony with your nature or not, get restorative sleep or not, be well hydrated or not, take time for introspection regularly or not, stretch and renew your whole body or not, eat when you are hungry or use food for any other reasons, and similar choices that are meant to be chosen because they are virtuous, health promoting, and life enhancing.
With practice, all these can be appreciated in each moment wherever you are.
Yes, a challenge. Yes, perseverance furthers success (as says the I Ching).
Be curious. Be intensely curious about just a few things. Worlds of wonder and information will open before you. Today it is relatively easy online to find out about what you are curious about. Used to require libraries.
Keep out in front of you reminders of what you want to do that are virtuous, helpful, healthful and life affirming.
- Bhanté pointed out that most of your health is due to your habits, behaviors, and thoughts long before this concept became popular…
your lifestyle determines your future, not so much either your genetics or history.
Gene tests are less valuable than epigenetic lifestyle tests. Use predictive biomarker epigenetic tests to find out where you are compared to best outcome goals values. You live longest and better when your epigenetic markers are at the best goal value.
Independent scientific groups have confirmed that at least 92% of lifetime health is due to habits of daily living… what you eat, drink, think and do. This understanding was pioneered by Kerr White (Ran the National Center for Health Statistics) and Ed Pellegrino (Ran the Kennedy Institute for Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center). It is been confirmed and reconfirmed multiple times since.
If you live in the moment, you can slow down, think, and envision the consequences or results of actions before taking action.
Yes, living in the past will likely make you depressed.
If you live in the future, you likely will become anxious. Yes, living in the future is known to make you anxious.
Do what is helpful and virtuous in the moment.
If you don’t know what is helpful and virtuous, do as little as possible.
We often do not know what to do. This is a sign to slow down further and marinate in these principles and practices.
Next week, in our final installment, we will examine more of Bhante’s principles and practices.