Life has a way of presenting us with unexpected situations, challenging our beliefs and testing our patience. In a world where instant gratification is often sought after, we sometimes forget the value of patience and the wisdom of waiting for life’s answers. A thought-provoking encounter between a traveler and an old lady by the river teaches us the importance of embracing life’s mysteries and being grateful for every experience.
Imagine a tired traveler standing beside a vast river, witnessing an old lady desperately in need of help to cross. Overcoming his own exhaustion, the traveler selflessly aids her in crossing the river. However, his act of kindness is met with disappointment when the old lady hurriedly departs without expressing gratitude. Regret fills the traveler’s heart, and he questions the worth of his effort without a simple “thank you.”
Hours later, just as the traveler’s energy reaches its lowest point, a young man catches up to him. To the traveler’s surprise, the young man expresses gratitude for helping his grandmother and presents him with dried food and a horse as tokens of appreciation. The traveler realizes that the old lady’s departure was not an act of ingratitude but a testament to the unpredictability of life’s unfolding. Sometimes, the answers we seek are not immediate; we must wait patiently to hear the echoes of our actions.
Life is often compared to a tapestry, woven with threads of joy and sorrow, success and failure. Similarly, the years are likened to giant trees, and life itself is the little birds that fly in and out. Adversity may cause our dreams and achievements to fade like bubbles, but in those moments of despair, we must shift our perspective. By embracing the belief that “everything is the best arrangement,” we can find solace and trust in life’s unfolding mysteries.
When faced with the bitter winds and rains of life, it may seem unbearable to our hearts. However, if we persevere and patiently wait, life will reward our efforts. Good times may not immediately emerge, but with steadfast dedication, they will gradually find their way to us. Life’s returns are not always immediate, but by staying hopeful and diligent, we open ourselves to the possibility of unforeseen surprises and positive transformations.
Instead of becoming upset or frustrated with life’s twists and turns, let us cast our eyes towards the horizon of life. Let us resist the urge to resort to self-pity or blame, and instead, cultivate gratitude for every encounter and experience. By maintaining an optimistic outlook, striving for personal growth, and believing in the inherent goodness of the universe, we create a space for blessings to manifest.
Life’s journey is filled with unpredictable encounters, and not all answers are readily available to us. Through the tale of the traveler and the old lady, we are reminded of the power of patience and the importance of gratitude. Remember, “everything is the best arrangement.” By embracing this belief, staying hopeful, and expressing gratitude for life’s encounters, we can navigate the twists and turns with a sense of peace and contentment. So let us be grateful for the wisdom gained from reading this article and cherish the beauty of life’s unfolding mysteries.
I believe many individuals have pondered the following questions deep within their hearts: Why do people exist? Do we live solely for money, status, fame, family, loved ones, or children?
People find meaning in life through various purposes and aspirations. However, what if none of these conventional motivations were present? Would life still hold significance?
To shed light on this existential inquiry, we turn to the profound insights of Mr. Inamori. This article serves as a synthesis of Mr. Inamori’s books, namely “The Art of Living,” “Embracing the Heart: A Path to Fulfillment,” “Mastering Thought: A Guide to Clarity,” and “The Entrepreneurial Spirit.” These collective works offer invaluable wisdom and would like to share with you here.
What constitutes life
The Essence of Life
Life can be defined as the amalgamation of destiny and cause. Personally, I began my journey as a technician, delving into research and development of new ceramics. At the age of 27, I founded Kyocera Corporation, which has flourished for over half a century.
Throughout this period, I contemplated the meaning of life and gradually formulated my own perspective. In fact, I embraced this outlook on life and followed my own unique path.
What, then, is the essence of life? Irrespective of whether we are aware or ignorant of this concept, our attitude and life’s trajectory will diverge significantly.
Therefore, it becomes crucial for us to grasp the true essence of life.
After much contemplation, I arrived at the following conclusion:
Each person’s life is akin to a tapestry interwoven by the warp of destiny and the weft of the law of karma.
Essentially, life is influenced by invisible forces, represented by two significant hands. The first is known as destiny.
Every individual enters this world with their own destiny. While the intricacies of fate remain enigmatic, our lives are guided or influenced by its presence.
Although some may object, I firmly believe that the existence of destiny is an undeniable reality.
We are, indeed, subject to a destiny that surpasses our personal will and desires. It disregards our joys, sorrows, and tribulations, akin to a ceaseless river that wraps around us and flows relentlessly towards the sea.
But are we entirely powerless in the face of fate? This is not the case either. An invisible force also exists within our lives, known as the “law of karma.”
The law of karma posits that good causes and deeds lead to favorable outcomes, while evil causes and deeds result in negative repercussions. In essence, our thoughts generate “causes,” not to mention the resentment, grievances, and fleeting thoughts that manifest. These causes bear fruit.
As Buddha Shakyamuni said, “Cause and effect”—causes never remain stagnant; every cause gives rise to an effect. Reflecting on our careers, karma represents the causal link. If a cause exists, there will be consequences.
In summary, cultivating virtuous thoughts, performing good deeds, and reaping positive outcomes while harboring negative thoughts, engaging in malevolent actions, and facing adverse retribution—this is the essence of the law of karma.
Hence, our lives primarily consist of two fundamental elements: “destiny and the law of karma,” while other factors hold comparatively less significance.
Understanding the Law of Cause and Effect: Shaping our Lives
Understanding the law of cause and effect empowers us to alter the course of our lives. Destiny serves as the warp, the law of karma as the weft, and together, they weave the fabric of our existence.
Life extends beyond the boundaries set by destiny, owing to the influence of the force of causality. Conversely, good deeds may not always yield immediate positive outcomes due to the interference of destiny.
Here lies a crucial point—the law of karma possesses greater potency than the law of destiny.
Furthermore, a mechanical relationship exists between these two forces that govern our lives. The force of cause and effect somewhat surpasses the force of destiny.
Consequently, we can harness the law of karma and potentially transform our predetermined destiny.
Therefore, nurturing virtuous thoughts has the power to alter our destiny’s trajectory and bring about positive change. Despite being subject to the control of destiny, we possess the ability to shape our fate through virtuous thinking and conduct.
3. Life motto: Don’t worry about the result, because the cause and effect must be reported.
In the law of karma, the correlation between cause and effect does not always manifest immediately, which often makes it difficult for us to fully comprehend this principle.
We may wonder why someone continues to suffer despite having done numerous good deeds. On the other hand, there are individuals with exceptional character who consistently engage in acts of kindness, yet they unfortunately endure illnesses. Similarly, there are people who engage in malicious actions and seem to lead contented lives with harmonious families, which can be puzzling to outsiders. These situations are not uncommon and contribute to our tendency to overlook the law of karma.
The reason behind delayed outcomes in accordance with the law of karma remains unknown, but there is undeniably a time lag. In my personal experience, the fruition of karma can be arduous to discern. However, if we extend our perspective to encompass a span of 20 or 30 years, there are no exceptions.
Thus, while immediate results may be elusive within a three to five-year timeframe, considering an individual’s life and observing the course of 20 or 30 years, the correlation between good thoughts, good deeds, and positive outcomes becomes evident. Likewise, evil thoughts and actions inevitably yield negative consequences. This understanding is apparent to all.
When we extend our viewpoint to a 30-year span, we recognize that the wicked do not perpetually prosper, and the virtuous are not eternally plagued. Ultimately, the virtuous find happiness. In the context of 30 years, everything seems to align favorably.
The connection between cause and effect can be likened to an equal sign—they are so intricately matched that it could be described as “remarkable.” Although this may not be immediately evident in the short term, over the long run, good causes lead to positive outcomes, while evil causes result in negative consequences. Karma proves to be accurate.
Therefore, the principle of cause and effect must be acknowledged, but it requires time for the outcomes to manifest. It is important to remember not to become anxious or impatient due to the lack of immediate visible effects.
Second, what is the meaning of life? Why do people live?
What is the meaning and purpose of life? This fundamental question demands a direct response.
In my perspective, the purpose of life is to enrich the mind and nurture the soul.
As inhabitants of this world, we are often consumed by desires and ensnared by them. It can be seen as an inherent aspect of human nature.
If we allow this nature to take control, we will be endlessly pursuing wealth, status, and fame, while indulging in fleeting pleasures.
Of course, life necessitates the fulfillment of basic needs such as food, clothing, and financial resources for leisure activities. I acknowledge that these requirements cannot be denied.
However, all of these worldly pursuits are confined to the present life, and they hold no significance in the next life. Matters of this world must be settled and completed within its confines. If anything within life is immortal, it is the “soul.”
When death approaches, all the status, reputation, and material possessions that we have accumulated will be relinquished, and we will embark on a new journey solely with our “soul.”
Hence, if someone were to ask me, “Why were you born into this world?”
I would unequivocally respond, “To ensure that my soul is purer in death than in life, or to carry a more beautiful and noble soul to meet death.”
We arrive in this world, experiencing the tumultuous impact of various circumstances, tasting the pains and joys of existence, and enduring moments of happiness and sadness until our final breath. Throughout this journey, we tirelessly and perseveringly strive.
The very process of life itself resembles sandpaper, refining and tempering the soul. Through this tempering, individuals elevate their character, cultivate their spirit, and depart from this world with a soul of higher stature than when they entered it.
I believe this is the purpose of life, and no other objective surpasses it.
Today should surpass yesterday, and tomorrow should surpass today. Each day, we exert sincere efforts, engage in unwavering work, take resolute action, and earnestly cultivate ourselves. It is within this process that the purpose and value of our lives are reflected.
More often than not, life brings us unhappiness. At times, we even resent the deities and divine beings, questioning why we must endure so much suffering. However, it is precisely these tribulations that temper our souls and elevate our character.
We should regard suffering as both a test and an opportunity, and we need to embrace this perspective.
Only individuals who perceive tests as opportunities can illuminate their limited lives.
The so-called “present world” is a period bestowed upon us by a higher power to refine our character, and it serves as a crucible for honing our souls.
The meaning and value of life lie in expanding the mind and fortifying the soul. To put it simply, that is the essence.
3. How should we face the turbulent life?
The life we lead is intricately woven with fate and the law of karma, which Shakyamuni Buddha referred to as “all things impermanent.”
Sakyamuni saw through the interplay of various factors, both positive and negative, in life and taught us that “life is characterized by suffering, and all actions are impermanent.”
Consider the aspect of health, for instance. While one may enjoy good health today, tomorrow could bring illness and confinement. The same holds true for business endeavors. Today may be smooth, but unforeseen challenges may arise tomorrow.
The phenomena we witness in the world around us are not constant or stable, as Sakyamuni described them to be “the impermanence of all things.”
“Lines” refer to all phenomena, which cannot be preserved indefinitely. Life is characterized by turbulence and fickleness.
Everything is impermanent, constantly changing, and new trials will continue to emerge. Hence, Shakyamuni also stated that “life is suffering.”
The concept of “pain due to impermanence” implies that life is a succession of suffering caused by impermanence.
In light of this, how should we approach life? What attitude should we adopt? It is these choices that ultimately determine the course of our lives.
Regardless of the fate we encounter, we must respond with a heart filled with gratitude. Good and bad experiences are intertwined, alternating throughout our lives.
Therefore, whether circumstances are favorable or unfavorable, bright or gloomy, we should express gratitude. Not only during moments of good fortune but even in the face of disaster, we should say thank you and demonstrate gratitude.
After all, I am still alive, and I have been granted the opportunity to live well. Hence, I should be grateful for this blessing.
I often remind myself internally that by practicing gratitude, I can improve my mindset and take the initial steps towards happiness.
However, putting this into action is easier said than done. It is challenging for individuals to reach a level where they can express gratitude regardless of whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring.
When faced with adversity, expecting oneself to practice gratitude and express appreciation can feel unrealistic. Instead, the natural response might be, “Why am I so unlucky?” This inclination towards resentment is perhaps inherent to human nature.
So, when things go well and luck is on our side, does gratitude arise spontaneously? Not necessarily.
“Good fortune! I deserve this; it is rightfully mine.” People often tend to think in this manner. “How can this benefit be enough?” The desire for more lingers.
As people collectively succumb to greed and forget gratitude, they inadvertently distance themselves from fortune.
“We should be thankful for whatever happens.” This principle should be firmly ingrained in our minds through rational thinking.
Even if we don’t genuinely feel grateful, we should continuously remind ourselves to say “Thank you!” It is crucial to cultivate such a mindset.
Difficulties that arise serve as opportunities for growth, and for that, I should be grateful. When good fortune arrives, it becomes even more precious, and expressing gratitude becomes imperative. Always be prepared to say “Thank you!” and consciously reserve space in your heart for gratitude.
Approaching life with this mentality is of utmost importance.
Fourth, to live a happy life lies in these six practices
So, how can we train our minds to achieve these goals?
In Buddhism, there is a practice method called the “six paramitas,” also known as the “six ways.” These paramitas include “diligence,” which refers to hard work.
I sincerely hope that everyone can transform their destiny and lead a better life by practicing this concept of diligence in six aspects. The first rule is to “put in as much effort as anyone else.”
This means working diligently towards our goals and objectives. It is the fundamental aspect of diligence.
The second rule is to “remain humble and guard against arrogance.”
Take the example of Kazuo Inamori, who achieved great success as a business operator. However, his success was not an inevitable outcome. It could have been achieved by anyone—A, B, or C. Inamori Kazuo was simply given this talent by chance.
It is important to adopt a mindset of humility and recognize that the world needs individuals with specific talents. God has bestowed upon us certain talents by chance.
Therefore, we should never become arrogant or let success make us indomitable. Thinking that “I have talent and a sharp mind, which is why I established this company,” is absolutely wrong.
Ancient Chinese classics also emphasize similar teachings. Those who will achieve great things in the future shine with the virtue of modesty.
In other words, those who succeed are humble and possess high moral character. Those who continue to grow are individuals who have been humble from a young age, rather than those who seek attention.
I would like to share a famous saying: “Only the humble are blessed.” Those who lack humility are not qualified for happiness because they are unable to grasp it.
To achieve happiness, one must always maintain humility. Those who will excel in their careers in the future are those who remain humble.
The third rule is to “introspect every day.” It means reflecting on our self-centeredness and selfishness, and making a conscious effort to eliminate these qualities. This introspection is crucial, and we must engage in it daily.
Cultivating gratitude every day is of utmost importance. It is essential to have a mindset that allows us to experience happiness at any moment. And what is a mind that can experience happiness at any time? It is a contented heart.
People who can experience happiness are those who are contented. I have already discussed the importance of gratitude, so I won’t elaborate further.
The fifth aspect of diligence is to “accumulate good deeds and embrace altruism.” It means contributing to society and the world. This concept is of utmost importance and has been emphasized throughout.
Lastly, the sixth rule is to “let go of emotional troubles.”
This means not worrying excessively or being troubled by emotions. Although we should consider the impermanence of the world, it is unnecessary to worry or be anxious.
Unpleasant things happen every day, and they happen frequently. There is no need to worry or be troubled by them.
When faced with failure, we must let go of it completely and focus on the future. This point is crucial.
Some people constantly worry about not receiving orders or fear going out of business, thinking, “If this continues, we won’t be able to pay our employees.” I want to tell you that this is not the right mindset.
By harboring such concerns, the company will only deteriorate further. Instead, we should think, “Since we have reached this point, let’s work hard rather than worry about going out of business.”
So, I say, “Don’t worry, don’t be troubled.” When we think in this way, we can remain calm and keep our minds free.
To be precise, practicing these six principles is a rational approach to exploring our true selves, which is also a path towards enlightenment. It is not merely an ascetic practice, a routine, or a daily meditation practice, but rather a practice that can be comprehended through reasoning.
However, it is important to note that casual attempts once or twice will not yield significant results. Consistency is key. By staying committed and practicing these principles every day, your destiny will undergo a dramatic transformation.
By persistently adhering to these six points, everything will gradually align in a harmonious direction, leading to an undeniable improvement in your destiny. Even in the face of various challenges you may be encountering now, they will eventually dissipate.
Nonetheless, the utmost importance lies in practicing the first rule: “Effort as much as anyone else.” Merely considering the latter points without wholehearted dedication and diligence will render your efforts fruitless.
In the vast universe, there exists a law or will that propels everything towards happiness. As long as we consistently practice the six principles with diligence and liberate our true selves within our hearts, everything will progress smoothly.
With unwavering commitment, your true self will be revealed. This true self can be seen as an embodiment of the universal law itself. Once you break free from the confines of your old self, you can embark on a path toward a joyous existence.
Every individual has the potential for a positive destiny and the ability to lead a happy life. However, happiness cannot be achieved without putting in sufficient effort.
Therefore, I urge you to recognize the significance of the “six diligence” and put them into action. By doing so, you will pave the way for a fulfilling and contented life.
Life often presents us with a mix of challenges, ranging from personal struggles to family issues and health problems. It can be overwhelming, especially for a young boy, as he opens up to his Grandma about everything going wrong. However, through a simple baking analogy, Grandma imparts a profound lesson about the nature of adversity and the importance of trust and faith in difficult times.
In the midst of school problems, family issues, and serious health concerns within the family, the little boy finds solace in confiding in his Grandma. He shares his frustrations, expressing how everything seems to be going wrong in his life. Unfazed by the boy’s grievances, Grandma calmly continues her task of baking a cake. Recognizing the boy’s need for a snack, she offers him various individual ingredients used in baking, such as cooking oil, raw eggs, flour, and baking soda. The boy’s disgusted reactions reflect his belief that these items are unpleasant to consume on their own. In response to the boy’s repulsion, Grandma imparts a valuable lesson. She explains that while these ingredients may taste unpleasant individually, when combined in the right amounts and manner, they create a delicious cake. She further extends the analogy to the way God works in our lives.
Grandma draws a parallel between the ingredients in baking and the challenges we face in life. Just as the ingredients, when mixed together, create something wonderful, God works in mysterious ways to bring about goodness from our trials. While we may question why we endure difficult times, Grandma encourages us to trust in God’s divine plan.
Life’s challenges may seem overwhelming and bitter when viewed in isolation. However, Grandma’s wisdom reminds us that even the most difficult circumstances can serve a purpose and lead to positive outcomes. By placing our trust in God’s guidance, we can find meaning, growth, and resilience amidst the adversities we encounter.
The story of the little boy and his Grandma’s cake-baking analogy provides a powerful reminder of the transformative potential hidden within life’s challenges. Like the ingredients in a cake, our trials and tribulations may appear unappealing when viewed individually. However, with faith and trust, we can embrace the belief that God’s hand is at work, orchestrating events in our lives for a greater purpose.
By embracing faith, trust, and resilience, we can find hope, strength, and a renewed sense of purpose, even in the face of adversity.
In the realms of the divine, where questions often outweigh answers, one man sought to understand the essence of Heaven and Hell. Little did he know that his journey would reveal a profound truth about human nature and the impact of our actions on others. As the man conversed with the Lord, he discovered that the stark difference between these two realms was not found in their physical setting, but rather in the attitudes and approach of the people present. This revelation serves as a powerful reminder that we possess the ability to shape the experiences of those around us, either by causing suffering or by bringing comfort and hope. In this blog post, we delve deeper into this thought-provoking tale and explore how we can create heaven or hell for one another in our own lives.
Parable of the Long Spoon
The man, driven by curiosity, approached the Lord and asked about the nature of Heaven and Hell. In response, the Lord led him to two seemingly identical rooms. In the first room, the man witnessed a distressing sight. A large round table occupied the center, with an enticing pot of stew resting upon it. The aroma of the stew tantalized the man’s senses, but his attention was soon drawn to the people surrounding the table. They appeared thin, sickly, and famished, holding spoons with long handles. Though they could dip their spoons into the pot and retrieve a mouthwatering spoonful, the length of the handles prevented them from nourishing themselves. The scene evoked immense suffering and misery within the man’s heart.
As the man recoiled from the harrowing sight, the Lord declared, “You have seen Hell.”
Curiosity still burning within him, the man followed the Lord into the second room. To his surprise, he discovered an identical scene to the previous room. The same round table with the savory pot of stew occupied the center, and the people around it were equipped with the same long-handled spoons. However, in stark contrast to Hell, the people here were well nourished, plump, and filled with joy. Laughter and lively conversation filled the room.
Baffled and perplexed, the holy man expressed his confusion to the Lord. The Lord responded with a simple yet profound explanation: “It is simple. They have learned to feed each other, while the greedy only think of themselves.”
The Power of Perspective: The tale’s moral lies not in the physical attributes of the two rooms, but in the way individuals treat one another. It highlights the transformative impact of selflessness, compassion, and cooperation in creating a heavenly environment. Similarly, the absence of these qualities leads to a hellish existence characterized by suffering and isolation.
In our everyday lives, we are constantly presented with opportunities to shape the experiences of those around us. Our actions, however small, carry the potential to bring either happiness or sorrow. By choosing to treat others with kindness, empathy, and generosity, we create a ripple effect that can transform even the most challenging situations into moments of solace and hope.
Imagine a world where every interaction is infused with compassion and understanding. It is a world where we go beyond our self-centered desires and actively seek to alleviate the suffering of others. By recognizing the interconnectedness of our lives, we can foster a sense of unity and build a harmonious society.
Creating heaven on Earth begins with cultivating empathy and embracing a mindset that values the well-being of others. It involves reaching out to those in need, offering a helping hand, and truly listening to one another’s struggles. Small acts of kindness, whether it’s a smile, a supportive word, or a selfless gesture, can make a significant difference in someone’s life.
Even if you keep yourself to a strict bedtime each night, there’s so much more to maintaining a good sleep schedule and achieving healthier sleep habits. Sleep patterns play a crucial role in how well-rested you may feel, especially over time — despite hitting a consistent amount of sleep every night (even within your recommended range), you can still find yourself feeling unprepared for busy schedules in the day ahead if you’re stuck in a late-night rut.
Sleep hygiene, or the collective steps to ensure you’re enjoying your best sleep on a regular basis, can look and feel very different for each individual based on one’s lifestyle. This usually depends on when you may need to be up and active or working, as well as when you eat meals; translating to a different sleep schedule and subsequent habits. In any case, your body is often relying on cues surrounding these daily routines in order to regulate what’s known as your internal circadian rhythm. Nestled in a part of the brain known as the hypothalamus, your circadian rhythm is largely governed by the environment you’re in or by other cues in your surroundings, like a gradual shift from light to dark.
But issues involving hormones, body temperatures and metabolic influences may also impact your circadian cycle, even after just one night’s worth of disruptions or significant changes.
There are a few ways you can work to reverse any disturbance to your sleep schedule and be extra considerate of your circadian rhythm to set yourself up for better sleep tonight. Try troubleshooting your sleep schedule by doing a reset; follow along as we highlight proven tricks and tips for getting back to a good night’s sleep.
How to reset your sleep schedule:
If you’re trying to improve your sleep hygiene but don’t know where to start, try working your way through this list of proven tactics before moving on to other resources available to you.
1. Build-in pockets of break times during your day — especially before bed.
Taking time to wind down in the hours leading up to sleep is indeed important. But often people who are experiencing disruptions to their sleep routine are in the midst of an overbearing schedule that extends throughout the entire day and into the evening. If you’re having trouble staying asleep at night, it may be due to a condition known as hyperarousal, explains Jade Wu, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University.
“It’s basically because your body and mind are too revved up,” she says. “The problem may be what you’re doing, or failing to do, during the day. You must make sure you have time to rest, instead of being on the go all day long.”
Being busy, either physically or through mental exhaustion, is an easy way to tire yourself out — but if you’re not building in periods of time to allow yourself to rest, this may lead to disrupted sleep functions later in the evening. This is especially true for people who are working right up until their bedtime; simply shutting off a computer or stopping chores and making a beeline for a dark bedroom doesn’t ensure immediate sleep.
2. Practice a soothing function prior to bed.
It goes hand in hand with scheduling breaks throughout your day, but offsetting stress and cortisol in your body (the hormone that stress produces) is essential to set yourself up for a mindset that’s conducive to sleep. If you can tell that the day’s stress is following you into your bedroom at night, Wu advises focusing on a relaxing ritual in the hour before you lay down to signal to your brain that it’s time to shut down for the evening.
The activity can be something of your choice, and it can be as simple as zoning out over a favorite show or scrolling through a social media feed — as long as you’re putting boundaries in to ensure you’re not self-sabotaging your bedtime. Sleep specialists have long advocated for meditation or journaling during this time, or even something physical that can be practiced easily in your quarters, like yoga or stretching exercises. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to consistently practice it within the hour you plan to turn off your lights and put your head on the pillow; building this routine may help guide your circadian rhythm over time.
“Make sure to have some dedicated time to process your thoughts, too, or else they’ll be pent up and ready to disrupt you during the night,” Wu adds. “If you’re prone to overthinking or worry during the night, get out of your head and into your body with mindful breathing or another exercise beforehand.”
3. Monitor what you eat and drink at night.
Your metabolism has a direct impact on your body’s internal clock, says Rebecca Robbins, Ph.D., a sleep medicine instructor at Harvard Medical School and sleep expert to Oura. Some of the things you consume at night may be obvious culprits for keeping you awake: Caffeinated beverages and sugary sweets, which stimulate you and keep you up later than you may intend. Spicy or acidic foods may also trigger acid reflux or heartburn which may keep you up longer than you’d like.
Alcohol is a nervous system depressant and may seem like it helps you get to sleep, but research confirms that booze before bed may reduce the quality of your sleep by impairing your rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Alongside a heavy meal late in the day, these kinds of dietary choices may impact you over time — and definitely impacts sleep quality if you have a temporary disruption in routine.
Stick to decaffeinated teas and other soothing beverages, and try reaching for a portion-controlled unprocessed snack if you’re hungry before bed; fresh fruit or even a dose of lean protein can help lull you to sleep. There is a wide range of foods that you can incorporate into your end-of-day routine which promotes better sleep if your snacking habits are impeding bedtime.
4. Invest in an air purifier and air conditioning as necessary.
Many people may already know that sleeping hot is one surefire way to damper the quality of your sleep and set yourself up for tossing and turning during the night. A National Institutes of Health (NIH) review suggested that temperatures higher than 75°F in your bedroom overnight (as well as below 54°F in cooler months) may prompt you to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep during the night.
But temperature and a good air conditioner isn’t the only factor to consider when it comes to the air inside your bedroom. Poor ventilation and air quality may impact your lungs and overall sleep quality, especially if you have pets or share your bedroom with more than one person.
“If you have a small bedroom and share it with other humans or animals consistently, the air quality may not be ideal for good quality sleep,” Wu says, adding that humans’ oxygen saturation levels drop significantly as breathing becomes more shallow during certain stages of sleep. “Keep doors and windows open if possible to keep the air flowing.”
5. Limit your exposure to light in the hours before bed.
Whether it’s light emitted from an electronic device or if you’re someone who needs to sleep during the day to work at night, you need to curtail your exposure to light in order to stimulate your body into a good period of sleep.
For most, this means dimming or turning off lights in your home and in your bedroom; doing so may prompt your circadian rhythm to communicate to your brain to produce melatonin, a sleep hormone that makes you feel naturally tired and drowsy. This includes light produced by electronic screens, from television and computers to smartphones that you may wish to use while lying in bed.
On the flip side, you’ll harness natural light and other devices in your home to help you feel more awake when you need to be — a key regulatory function of the circadian rhythm. “When we spend all day indoors, we don’t get enough broad-spectrum light exposure, which makes it harder for our circadian clocks to function,” Wu explains. “At least half an hour of outdoor light during the day can improve sleep quality.”
6. Try sleeping a bit longer.
If you’re frequently fighting to drag yourself out of bed in the morning despite sticking to a strict bedtime, this could be your body’s way of signaling that you’re just not getting enough sleep. “If you are falling short of the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep for adults, you might consider trying to build in a bit more time into your routine by adjusting your bedtime slowly,” Robbins advises.
You may need to adjust your sleep habits on a seasonal basis, too, due to the limited amount of sunshine that most experience during the winter. This is especially true if you’re experiencing what’s known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is much more common and goes undiagnosed in many individuals with mild cases.
“Our brain is less able to understand when it should be tired and when it should be alert [during the winter],” she adds. “If this is an issue for you, try to get outside and into the light when the sun is up to help train your brain to understand appropriate sleep and wake times.”
7. Don’t categorize your sleep routine between weekdays and weekends.
Sticking to a strict schedule and good habits during the weekday and then slacking off on weekends may seem innate for some; after all, you don’t have to wake up when you’re not at work or in school. But doing this on a cycle can easily damage your quality of sleep and make it impossible to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, due to a phenomenon that sleep experts call “social jetlag.”
“When we sleep and rise at very different times on workdays versus days off, it’s like we’re traveling multiple time zones throughout the week and getting jetlagged,” Wu says. “This confuses our circadian clocks, making our sleep quality and daytime functioning worse.”
If you’re finding that you’re having a lot of trouble getting to sleep or are feeling particularly restless on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, social jetlag is likely a root cause — and a key indicator you’ll need to maintain a recurrent wake-up time each morning to avoid the issue. Organizing your sleep schedule around a consistent wake-up time rather than a consistent bedtime will ensure your circadian rhythm helps you truly feel sleepy at the end of the day rather than tossing and turning in bed.
8. Avoid getting into bed when you don’t feel sleepy.
This is also true for someone who frequently wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. Consistently using your bed to signal your brain that it’s time to sleep — rather than simply lounging, eating a meal, binging shows or doomscrolling — can become part of a routine that helps those who frequently are tossing and turning from becoming frustrated and being unable to sleep.
“If you toss and turn after getting back into bed, start over again — get out of your bed and only get back when you actually feel tired,” Robbins advises, adding that people can also use this tactic if they have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Setting boundaries in your bedroom to truly delegate sleeping to your bed on its own can be very helpful if you can’t seem to find a solution for tossing and turning on end. Don’t try to adhere to a bedtime by begrudgingly laying in bed if you feel alert and awake; try other techniques listed in this guide to calm down, and feel out your circadian clock to really know when you’re ready to lay down and hit the pillow.
9. Skip naps and hold out for your bedtime.
Taking a power nap seems like a good solution if you’ve recently experienced an interruption in your sleeping routine — whether it’s traveling into another time zone or simply because you’ve been sleeping poorly at home recently. But napping can inevitably cause you to feel more tired and groggy than you did before in most cases, as it only takes between 60 and 90 minutes for your body to slip into REM sleep, and waking up from that prematurely contributes to this sensation.
To avoid impacting your circadian rhythm, try avoiding naps altogether — if you can’t skip a nap for whatever reason, be sure to keep it to 30 minutes or less and make it as early in the day as possible. Doing so may leave your circadian clock better positioned for a regular bedtime later, as Mayo Clinic officials have noted.
10. Don’t quit your current sleep habits cold turkey.
This may sound counterintuitive, but you can’t expect results overnight — adopt all of these techniques and new objectives on a rolling basis, as abruptly changing your sleeping habits can easily lead to more disaster before any growth. One key aspect to think about is an adjusted bedtime; it’s very easy to dip into sleeping time than it is to make more of it, so be easy on yourself at first.
Both Robbins and Wu, alongside many other sleep experts, advise easing into a new, optimized bedtime by training yourself to get into bed earlier in 15-minute increments every three days. If you have a sleep routine already, including wind-down activities, bumping these up too can help impact your circadian rhythm naturally over time.
Temporary issues that may be impacting your sleep schedule:
A disruption in your sleep schedule and subsequent quality of rest can be expected due to a myriad of lifestyle choices, most of which you can immediately address by using some of the tactics we’ve highlighted in the sections above.
You should expect that your sleep schedule will be impacted due to issues like:
Pulling an all-nighter
Traveling through multiple time zones on long-haul trips
Jet lag on extended trips
Temporary evening work shifts
Light pollution at home
Temporary illness as well as stress and anxiety
While it’s normal for your sleep schedule to be temporarily disrupted or impaired due to these issues, there may be other root causes behind declining sleep quality that you’ll need help addressing. Since having an inconsistent sleep schedule often quickly leads to poor sleep, chronic health issues or lifestyle choices that are leading you to experience sleep disruption should be addressed with your healthcare provider. Without working to reverse these chronic disruptions, research suggests that poor sleep quality and an impacted circadian rhythm can lead to depression, other sleep disorders, seasonal affective disorder (known as SAD), as well as physical drawbacks like an increased risk of obesity and diabetes.
Sleep can easily be impacted by lifestyle choices that you may need help from a doctor in managing in the long run; namely, proper nutrition, sustained exercise and stress management, explains Ali Rodriguez, M.D., an Arizona-based OB-GYN and women’s health expert to health technology brand Oura. “A lot of people don’t realize that exercise, for example, helps our sleep; moving your body for at least 30 minutes five days a week contributes to better sleep,” Dr. Rodriguez says.
Mental health may also come into play and require a helping hand, Robbins adds. “Managing stress across the day is important and can help with sleep; research suggests those who practice meditation and mindfulness get better sleep and take a bit less time to fall asleep than those without these skills,” she says.
When it’s time to see a doctor: One key indicator is a chronic toss-and-turn that lasts for more than 30 minutes. If you’ve experienced this issue almost every night during the week and have done so for more than 3 months, it’s time to seek out medical input. This time frame remains true for most sleep issues, like chronically waking up in the middle of the night — or having trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
Dr. Rodriguez stresses checking in with your healthcare provider is also crucial when you can no longer get through essential tasks within your daily routine. Given that current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures peg more than 70 million Americans as being influenced by underlying sleep disorders, some of which may silently impact circadian rhythms, there may be an issue that requires medical attention before you’re able to truly enjoy a good night’s sleep.
In the “Buddha Imparts The Parables Sutra,” Sakyamuni Buddha explained a story to King Shengguang that conveyed the true meaning of life. The story goes like this: A thousand eons ago, there was a man wandering in the wilderness who was suddenly chased by a ferocious elephant. With no place to rely on, he ran in fear and came across an empty well with a large tree beside it. Desperate to escape, he followed the roots of the tree and hid in the well. However, the well was not a safe place either. There were two mice, one black and one white, constantly gnawing at the tree roots. And there were four poisonous snakes surrounding the well, ready to strike, and a poisonous dragon at the bottom of the well. The man was afraid of the snakes and the dragon, and also worried that the mice would eat away the tree roots. Just then, five drops of honey from a honeycomb on the tree fell into the man’s mouth, and he immediately forgot his fear and worries. But soon, bees from the honeycomb stung him due to the shaking of the tree, and a wildfire suddenly broke out and burned the tree.
The Buddha told King Shengguang that the wilderness represents the long night of ignorance, the man represents all sentient beings, the elephant represents impermanence, the well represents life and death, the tree root represents life, and the black and white mice represent night and day. The four poisonous snakes symbolize the four elements of earth, water, fire, and wind; the honey represents the five desires of wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep; the bees represent evil thoughts; the wildfire represents aging and disease; and the poisonous dragon represents death. The Buddha emphasized that birth, old age, sickness, and death are inevitable and frightening. One should always be vigilant and not be consumed by the desires for wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep. Upon hearing the Buddha’s teachings on the parables of life and death, King Shengguang was deeply moved.
This story serves as a reminder for us as well. Have we become absorbed in the sweetness of “honey” in our lives, forgetting that the “black and white mice” are constantly nibbling away at our time? Life is like a fleeting dream, and it is empty. It is crucial for us to awaken from this dream of fleeting existence.
I recently read a book called “Remember Who You Are: 15 Harvard Professors Tell Life Stories That Inspire the Heart and Mind.” This book features stories from faculty members of Harvard Business School who share lessons on how to balance personal and professional responsibilities as a leader. While the stories aren’t specifically about business, they offer valuable insights into life. One story that particularly resonated with me was “A Fall Before Rising,” as told by Jai Jaikumar.
Professor Jay Kumar shared his near-death experience, which occurred during a mountain climbing expedition in the Himalayas. Born in India, he had a passion for mountaineering and had set out to climb a summit with a friend when he was a college student. While attempting to reach the top, they lost track of time and missed their chance to return to camp before darkness fell.
On their way back, they were unable to see clearly and were separated by an avalanche, causing the professor to tumble 2.5 miles down the mountain, sustaining injuries all over his body and losing all his belongings. Fortunately, he did not hit any rocks and survived the fall.
He spent a grueling day and night walking until he finally stumbled upon a small house where a kind lady saved him. The lady carried him on the snow for three days and helped him seek medical treatment without expecting anything in return.
After his rescue, Jaikumar went back to college, but he never forgot the kindness of the rescue lady and her village. The professor was deeply moved by her selflessness and began to reflect on his own good fortune in life.
He realized that his survival and success were due to many good lucks in his childhood, family, education, and the kind lady saved him from mountain accident, etc… . He felt grateful for everything that had led him to where he was and recognized the role of chance in shaping his life. The loss of his friend on the mountain served as a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of appreciating what one has.
Years had passed since Professor Jaikumar’s last time visit to the village, where the lady had refused to accept any reward. When he returned, she still declined any form of compensation. However, Jaikumar felt compelled to give back to the village in some way, and recognized that education was the key to a better future for the children there. He came up with the idea of building a school, and after years of hard work and dedication, his vision became a reality.
In life, we come across many instances where we are given a second chance to make things right. And sometimes, these second chances inspire us to do something extraordinary, something that can make a positive impact on the world.
In his message to the students, he emphasized the importance of remembering that when good fortune comes our way, we should also be grateful for the accompanying responsibilities. According to him, success is not only the result of luck but also of taking responsibility, contributing to the well-being of others, and striving to achieve one’s highest potential.
During our family trip, one of the most stunningly beautiful places we visited was Horseshoe Bend. As we approached the overlook, I was immediately impressed by the diamond blue water and the strange-shaped cliffs that surrounded the bend in the Colorado River. We stepped near the edge of the cliffs, and it was stunning how large the canyon was. The river was far below the towering cliff-sides, and I felt almost dizzy being so small and so high above the canyon floor.
We walked around the overlook area, which was full of visitors admiring the landscape. Despite the large crowd, everyone seemed to be happy, enjoying the beauty of nature and forgetting about the unhappiness in their lives. It was as if they were all experiencing the healing power of nature.
People were busy taking photos and posing for pictures, trying to preserve their memories of this awe-inspiring landscape that was formed over millennia of the river carving through the rock. And it made me realize how important it is to protect and preserve our planet, our beautiful home Earth.
The river, although beautiful, was much below its usual water height, due to the ongoing drought and unsustainable water use in this area. As a society, we need to focus on preventing global climate change, cleaning up pollution, and taking care of our planet for future generations. Instead of spending resources on trying to inhabit other planets, which are currently devoid of life, we need to work together to save our own planet.
If we don’t take action, our future generations might not have the same opportunities to experience and appreciate the beauty of nature that we have today. Earth is our only place for food, shelter, and energy for at least the next thousand years. So let’s join hands and work together to protect and preserve our beautiful home planet, so that our future generations can enjoy the same wonders of nature that we do today.
Our visit to Horseshoe Bend was more than just a family vacation. It was a powerful reminder that we all have a responsibility to protect and preserve our planet. As a result, I have made a personal commitment to reduce my consumption of unnecessary goods, and to practice the principles of “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” Additionally, I pray for an end to man-made disasters, such as war, and for the regeneration of healing powers from everyone’s heart.
In reflecting on this experience, I was reminded of the words of Peace Pilgrim, who said, “Remember the power of thought, and think only about the best that could happen. Dwell only upon the good things you want to see happen. Remember, through thought you create your inner conditions and help to create the conditions around you. We are all helping to make a great decision.” These words inspire me to focus on positivity and to believe that my thoughts and actions can create positive change in the world.
About 20 years ago, I participated in a retreat that focused on organic farming, nutrition, and spirituality, at Santa Barbara CA. While much of what I learned during the retreat has since slipped from my memory, one aspect of the experience has remained with me: my encounter with the beautiful soul known as Peace Pilgrim.
I never had the opportunity to meet Peace Pilgrim in person, but I was deeply moved by her book, “Peace Pilgrim: Step toward Inner Peace,” which I read in Chinese. I couldn’t believe that such an amazing and spiritual person existed. Peace Pilgrim’s journey across America to spread the message of peace, with nothing but the clothes on her back, was truly inspiring. The book left a lasting impression on me, and it actually started my spiritual journey.
Peace Pilgrim, born Mildred Lisette Norman, was a spiritual teacher and peace activist who walked across America several times in the 1950s and 1960s to spread the message of peace. She traveled on foot, carrying only a few possessions and wearing a tunic with the words “Peace Pilgrim” written on it.
During her journey, Peace Pilgrim spoke to thousands of people about the importance of inner peace and the role it plays in creating a more peaceful world. She believed that true peace could only be achieved when individuals found inner peace within themselves, and that this inner peace would radiate outwards to create a more peaceful society.
Peace Pilgrim’s message resonated with many people, and her simple, yet powerful words inspired many to work towards peace in their own lives and in the world. She wrote several books, including “Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words,” which chronicled her journey and the lessons she learned along the way.
In a time of great turmoil and uncertainty, the message of Peace Pilgrim is more relevant than ever. Her teachings remind us that true peace begins within, and that each of us has the power to make a difference in the world by finding inner peace and living a life of compassion and kindness. Her spirit and teachings continue to inspire and guide many people, and her message of peace will continue to resonate for years to come.
In this pandemic and tough time, her message of inner peace could be a guiding light for many people. World will have true peace until each one of us find our inner peace. Her teachings and stories are an inspiration for all of us to work on peace for the whole world. May her spirit and teachings continue to guide and inspire us all to work towards a more peaceful world.
Recently, my two college-aged sons have been expressing that they find life to be difficult. In an effort to provide them with guidance and support, I have been offering them spiritual advice and emotional support. While searching for resources to assist in this endeavor, I stumbled upon the profound and enlightening book, The Road Less Traveled, by Scott Peck. The insights and philosophy presented within the book have been incredibly inspiring and beneficial in helping me to support my sons in their journey.
The Road Less Traveled is a self-help book by American psychiatrist and author Scott Peck, first published in 1978. The book has had a significant impact, selling millions of copies and remaining on the New York Times bestseller list for more than ten years. One of the main themes of the book is the concept of the four disciplines: psychiatry, psychology, religion, and philosophy. Each discipline offers unique perspectives on how to navigate the challenges of life and achieve personal growth.
The book’s central message is that life is difficult, but that this difficulty can be transcended by understanding and accepting it. Peck argues that discipline is the basic tool we need to solve life’s problems, and that with enough discipline we can solve all problems. Additionally, the book explores themes of love, relationships, parenting, and self-discovery, as well as teaching about distinguishing dependency from love and how to become one’s true self.
Life is a series of problems. It is something that we all must face and deal with on a daily basis. Some of these problems may be small and easily solved, while others may be more complex and difficult to overcome. The question we must ask ourselves is: do we want to moan about these problems or do we want to solve them?
As adults, we have the power to choose how we react to life’s problems. We can choose to bemoan our difficulties and wallow in our troubles, or we can choose to take action and find solutions. The latter approach is far more productive and will ultimately lead to greater satisfaction and fulfillment in life.
In addition to making this choice for ourselves, it is also important to teach our children to solve problems in a similar manner. As parents, we have a responsibility to guide and teach our children, helping them to develop the skills and mindset needed to overcome the challenges that life will inevitably present to them.
One of the most important tools we have for solving life’s problems is discipline. Without discipline, we will not be able to effectively tackle the issues that we face. With only some discipline, we may be able to solve only some problems, but with total discipline, we can solve all problems. Discipline is the key to success in any endeavor. It allows us to focus our minds and efforts, to set goals and make plans, and to persist in the face of adversity.
It is important to note that problems do not go away on their own. They must be worked through and dealt with, otherwise they will remain forever, acting as a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit. It is essential that we learn to face and overcome problems, rather than avoiding or ignoring them.
One way to do this is by learning to Delay Gratification. By scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in a way that we deal with pain first and get it over with, it allows us to enhance the pleasure we gain from it. This is the only decent way to live. With discipline, we can solve most of the problems, and delay gratification is a process that can help us to get through the most difficult moments.
Peck also emphasizes the importance of Love and Community in personal growth. He argues that true love is not just an emotional state, but also an action, and that it requires a commitment to growth and self-discipline. He also stresses the importance of community, stating that “the love of community is the only true love.”
I have also found out in Buddhism, love has a deeper meaning that goes beyond romantic or familial feelings. It encompasses compassion and the belief in treating all beings as if they were our own relatives or parents. In What is Cultivation by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, says: “Loving-kindness: At all times, through the actions of my three karmas, I am loving and kind toward all living beings, who have been my parents. I wish them a long life without illness, good fortune, good luck, and a happy life. ” This means that at all times, through all our actions, thoughts, and words, we should strive to be loving and kind towards all living beings, recognizing that they have been our parents in past lives. This belief is expressed through the wish for all beings to have a long life free from illness, good fortune, good luck, and happiness. This unconditional love can have a positive impact on individuals who are facing challenges and difficulties in their lives.
Everyone must face and deal with the challenges and difficulties in life. Moaning about them or solving them, it’s a choice we make, and the latter can lead to greater satisfaction and fulfillment in life. Teaching our children to solve problems in a similar manner and helping them to develop the discipline and tools needed, that could be in religions or philosophy or psychology, to succeed in life is an essential responsibility of parenthood.