Category Archives: Inspiration Zone

Inspirational Articles, Videos | Laugh Yoga, Exercises, Videos and Clubs from the American School Of Laughter Yoga

The ABCs of Happiness

By Steve Wilson

Avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits.
Believe in yourself.
Consider things from every angle.
Don’t postpone joy!
Enjoy today. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.
Family and friends are hidden treasures.
Give up any anger you might have been hanging on to, but…
Happiness is like perfume: you can’t sprinkle it on others without getting some on yourself.
Ignore those who try to discourage you.
Jolly + jovial + jestful = joyful!
Keep on learning. Learn something new each day.
Look for humor in everyday situations.
Make smiles happen.
Never lie, cheat, or steal. Always strike a fair deal.
Open your eyes, and see the beauty in all of nature.
Play. You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.
Quiet times give us balance.
Read, study and learn about something new every day.
Stop and smell the roses.
Take control of what you can; let God have the rest.
Understand others first, then seek to be understood.
Visualize happy memories.
Work at making others happy.
X-ercise your right to be unique.
Zero in on laughter and go for it!

How to be an innerpreneur

“Invent a business that smiles on the world
Discover what is needed that you believe in with all your heart
A service you are really good at and love to do. Let it be your classroom
Try new ideas. Play with everything. Dive in
Cherish good people including yourself.
Get negative people out of your life
Romp on the floor with your dog.
Make friends with trees. Listen to their stories
Believe in butterflies. If they can fly a thousand miles, think what you can do
Earn enough for your need but not for your greed, leaving a heritage so that when you
die you will be missed.” – Sami Sunchild

Stay Young

The following poem by Samuel Ullman hung over the desk of General Douglas MacArthur while he oversaw the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951 and helped create sweeping economic, political and social changes.

Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind. It is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.

Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair, these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust.

Whether seventy or seventeen there is in every beings heart the love of wonder, the sweet amazement of the stars and the starlight things and thoughts, the undaunted challenge of events and the childlike appetite for what’s next, and the joy and the game of life.

You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt, as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear. So long as your heart receives messages of beauty, cheer, courage, grandeur and power from the earth, from man, and from the infinite, so long you are young.”

Stay young

If you would like to read more about Samuel Ullman and this poem, you might try Margaret E. Armbrester’s biography: Samuel Ullman and “Youth”: The Life, the Legacy (Amazon).

Eight Happiness Exercises That Work

The regular practice of any of the following simple exercises will help you create a sense of greater happiness in your life. Just as the orange provides the juice, laughter provides the happiness.

  1. Write down three positive occurrences that happened during the day, every night for one week – then for each occurrence write down an answer to the question of why the good thing happened.
  2. Pro-actively email or call someone (anybody you want) to share good news only.
  3. Pro-actively email or call at least one person you like or love every day to catch up with them.
  4. Take a picture of yourself smiling every day for 21 days.
  5. Ask yourself constantly “why is this happening for me?” rather than “why is this happening to me?” Enhance the positive traits rather than rue and mull on the negative thoughts.
  6. Make optimistic attributions to real life situations as a preference to pessimistic conclusions. Read http://goo.gl/1Gx5R to learn more about this.
  7. Starting today, find an empty jar and take the time every month to fill it with notes about good things that have happened to you. Then, on New Years Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened during the year. It’s a very good way to keep things in perspective! Use this opportunity to express gratitude, appreciation and forgiveness.
  8. First do everything you can to feel good (e.g. laugh!) daily, then practice positive affirmations and associate the feelings you have to them. Don’t ask for something you do not already have, affirm your gratitude for the knowing that it is coming.

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In Lak’ech Ala K’in – the Living Code of the Heart

Ancient Greetings that all say the same thing: you and I are one

Namaste: from East India
Wiracocha: from the Inca
Mitakuye Oyasin: from the Lakota
In Lak’ech (the response is “Ala K’in”): from the Mayan

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The law of In Lak’ech Ala K’in

By Aluna Joy Yaxkin

In Mayan tradition, there is a greeting that many people working with Mayan wisdom know of. It is the law of In Lak’ech Ala K’in, which means I am another yourself (A modern day interpretation). It also means I am you, and you are me (A traditional Mayan interpretation). We have come to understand that this Mayan greeting is an honoring for each other. It is a statement of unity and oneness. In Lak’ech Ala K’in mirrors the same sentiment of other beautiful greetings such as Namaste for East India, Wiracocha for the Inca, and Mitakuye Oyasin for the Lakota. It doesn’t matter which culture you come from. But when one of these sacred greetings is given, there is always an action of placing the hands over the heart.

The more I walk the Mayan path, the more I understand the depth that In Lak’ech Ala K’in teaches. This greeting has become more than a simple, honorable Maya greeting. It has evolved into a moral code, and a way to create a positive reality for all life. As we near 2012 with all its doom and gloom prophecies, we have a moral obligation to Spirit to live the code of In Lak’ech Ala K’in.

It is common knowledge these days that every action we take in our lives affects all living things. We understand that if we act negatively, our actions impact all life negatively. When we act positively, we affect all life in a positive manner. When we live the Mayan code of In Lak’ech Ala K’in, we know that every action we take is out of respect for all life, and we are living and giving from our hearts.

We can give our hearts in a positive manner every day by saying In Lak’ech Ala K’in to each other, to the trees, to the sky, to the birds, and to the stars. You can greet each sunrise by saying In Lak’ech Ala K’in. Each and every day we have together is sacred, so acknowledge this day by giving it your heart. Remember when you give in this way, you are also giving to yourself! You are not giving your energy away to something separate from yourself. Y ou are giving to another part of yourself!

I understand the challenges in staying positive in these days where the energy is so compressed that we can hardly breathe, but there is one simple exercise that can turn it all around for us. Each day, simply walk in gratefulness. We can say In Lak’ech Ala K’in to that which gives us life everyday, and that is the heart of the Great Spirit. Instead of solely taking from the Great Spirit by asking for insight and direction, give back your heart, love, and appreciation. You will be amazed at the results. If we open our hearts and send gratitude, it opens all doors that were previously closed to us. Remember you are a part of Great Spirit! When you give to Great Spirit you are giving to yourself.

We can practice In Lak’ech Ala K’in tirelessly, because when and what we give to others is giving energy to ourselves. When we give, we receive. So how do we know if we giving right? It is really simple. When we are energized by our giving, we know we are giving from our hearts and from the code of In Lak’ech Ala K’in. If we feel drained or exhausted, it is possible that we gave out of fear, lack, obligation, ego, or a need to be accepted or liked. The more one practices In Lak’ech Ala K’in, the clearer we will become about our motivations regarding our actions, and the more we will receive. Remember . . . what goes around comes around exactly the way it was sent out. If you don’t like what life is sending to you, look at what you are sending out to life.

When we begin to live and practice In Lak’ech Ala K’in, a lot of our old ways of doing things will no longer work for us. For instance, we cannot act like victims anymore, and we cannot live out of fear either. We find ourselves no longer preparing for disaster; instead we anticipate a glorious future. It is time for us to rewrite the prophecies. They have become obsolete. The past will become just a bad dream, and the future will become a beautiful vision of which we will create right now.

When we practice In Lak’ech Ala K’in, we quit being neutral in our world, because we understand that Spirit works with those that take action. We begin to take action by adding to the positive experience of this dimension. So what kind of world do you want? Don’t just stand there waiting for the world to appear in front of you. Spirit helps those who help themselves. It is up to us.

When we practice the moral code of In Lak’ech Ala K’in, we are producing and sending positive and vital energy that can literally transform our troubled world into Paradise. When we live from In Lak’ech Ala K’in, we are putting to use our natural ability to create our reality. We are affecting the collective consciousness of humanity in a positive way. The Cosmic Maya, also known as the “Star Elders” or “Invisible Council”, understood this natural power to create their reality. Their sacred calendars mapped the natural laws of the universe. Now it is our turn to come to this understanding. It is time for us to walk as the Star Elders did so many years ago. The time has come for us to change the world.

The more humanity begins to live In Lak’ech Ala K’in, the less we will think in terms of our separateness. There can be no competition, jealousy or envy between us, because we are pieces of each other. We can share and help each other with our connections, ideas and resources without fear that there will not be enough to go around. When we live the reality of unity, abundance and wholeness, there will be unity, abundance and wholeness! The more of us that participate in the creation of a better world, the quicker it will arrive. We will have peace, love, harmony and unity, and will finally have arrived home.

How heavy is a feather? This one holds a whole structure together, at its point of equilibrium

I like the video below because it illustrates beautifully that there is no such thing as a small contribution. We’re all important. Everyone and everything counts.

The purpose of life is not to win or loose, but live your destiny. Therein lies the power. How to do that? Shift from “trying to become” to “being” that which you want to be, simply, fully, as you are with what you currently have.

 

This Is Water: Some Thoughts about Living a Compassionate Life

On September 12, 2008, David Foster Wallace took his own life, becoming a kind of patron-saint of the “tortured genius” myth of creativity. Just three years prior to his suicide, he stepped onto the podium at Kenyon College and delivered one of the most timeless graduation speeches of all time — the only public talk he ever gave on his views of life. The speech, which includes a remark about suicide by firearms that came to be extensively discussed after DFW’s own eventual suicide, was published as a slim book titled This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life.

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On solipsism and compassion, and the choice to see the other:

Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute centre of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centredness because it’s so socially repulsive. But it’s pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute centre of. The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left or right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on. Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.

Please don’t worry that I’m getting ready to lecture you about compassion or other-directedness or all the so-called virtues. This is not a matter of virtue. It’s a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self. People who can adjust their natural default setting this way are often described as being ‘well-adjusted’, which I suggest to you is not an accidental term.

On the double-edged sword of the intellect, which Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Anne Lamott have spoken to:

It is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about ‘the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.’

This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger.

And I submit that this is what the real, no-bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out.

On empathy and kindness, echoing Einstein:

Please don’t think that I’m giving you moral advice, or that I’m saying you are supposed to think this way, or that anyone expects you to just automatically do it. Because it’s hard. It takes will and effort, and if you are like me, some days you won’t be able to do it, or you just flat out won’t want to.

But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

On false ideals and real freedom, or what Paul Graham has called the trap of prestige:

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.

They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.

And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving…. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.

On what “education” really means and the art of being fully awake to the world:

The real value of a real education [has] almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

‘This is water.’

‘This is water.’

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime.

Laughter Is It

Words & music by Cindy Brown & Richard Davis

Have you lost your laughter
Is life no longer fun
Of all the things that you can do
I know the perfect one

REFRAIN:
Laughter yoga
Ho ho ha ha ha
Ho ho ha ha ha
Laugh for the health of it
Laugh for the joy of it
Laugh for peace
Laughter is it

Leave our worries at the door
We clap, we breathe, we laugh
Stressed or sick or sad no more
This is what we came here for

~REFRAIN~

You don’t have to laugh for real
Fake it – you’ll make it either way
Dr. K has taught us the deal
Let your body move your mind to heal

~REFRAIN~

Put your heart and belly to the test
Empty out your lungs and move your breath
When you laugh your mind gets a rest
As exercise it really is the best

~REFRAIN~

CLAP!!! BREATHE!!!!! LAUGH! LAUGH!! LAUGH!!!

Laugh for the health of it
Laugh for the joy of it
Laugh for peace
Laughter is it

Click here to download the words

Click here to download the music

Unpublished work © 2011 Cynthia Brown & Richard Davis – rmdmusic@mac.com

 

The story of fire, a delightful Sufi story about how to pass on knowledge.

By Ahmed el-Bedavi (d. 1276), founder of the Egyptian Bedavi Sufi Order. Retold by Idries Shah.
I read it in “Tales of the Dervishes

– – –

Once upon a time a man was contemplating the ways in which Nature operates, and he discovered, because of his concentration and application, how fire could be made.

This man was called Nour [Light]. He decided to travel from one community to another, showing people his discovery.

Nour passed the secret to many groups of people. Some took advantage of the knowledge. Others drove him away, thinking that he must be dangerous, before they had had time to understand how valuable this discovery could be to them. Finally, a tribe before which he demonstrated became so panic-stricken that they set about him and killed him, being convinced that he was a demon.

Centuries passed. The first tribe which had learned about fire reserved the secret for their priests, who remained in affluence and power while the people froze.

The second tribe forgot the art and worshipped instead the instruments. The third worshipped a likeness of Nour himself, because it was he who had taught them. The fourth retained the story of the making of fire in their legends: some believed them, some did not. The fifth community really did use fire, and this enabled them to be warmed, to cook their food, and to manufacture all kinds of useful articles.

After many, many years, a wise man and a small band of his disciples were traveling through the lands of those tribes. The disciples were amazed at the variety of rituals which they encountered; and one and all said to their teacher: ‘But all these procedures are in fact related to the making of fire, nothing else. We should reform these people!’

The teacher said: ‘Very well, then. We shall restart our journey. By the end of it, those who survive will know the real problems and how to approach them.

When they reached the first tribe, the band was hospitably received. The priests invited the travelers to attend their religious ceremony, the making of fire. When it was over, and the tribe was in a state of excitement at the event which they had witnessed, the master said: ‘Does anyone wish to speak?’

The first disciple said: ‘In the cause of Truth I feel myself constrained to say something to these people.’

‘If you will do so at your own risk, you may do so,’ said the master.

Now the disciple stepped forward in the presence of the tribal chief and his priests and said: ‘I can perform the miracle which you take to be a special manifestation of deity. If I do so, will you accept that you have been in error for so many years?’

But the priests cried: ‘Seize him!’ and the man was taken away, never to be seen again.

The travelers went to the next territory where the second tribe were worshipping the instruments of fire-making. Again a disciple volunteered to try to bring reason to the community.

With the permission of the master, he said: ‘I beg permission to speak to you as reasonable people. You are worshipping the means whereby something may be done, not even the thing itself. Thus you are suspending the advent of its usefulness. I know the reality that lies at the basis of this ceremony.’

This tribe was composed of more reasonable people. But they said to the disciple: ‘You are welcome as a traveler and stranger in our midst. But, as a stranger, foreign to our history and customs, you cannot understand what we are doing. You make a mistake. Perhaps, even, you are trying to take away or alter our religion. We therefore decline to listen to you.’

The travelers moved on.

When they arrived in the land of the third tribe, they found before every dwelling an idol representing Nour, the original fire-maker. The third disciple addressed the chiefs of the tribe:

‘This idol represents a man, who represents a capacity, which can be used.’

‘This may be so,’ answered the Nour-worshippers, ‘but the penetration of the real secret is only for the few.’

‘It is only for the few who will understand, not for those who refuse to face certain facts,’ said the third disciple.

‘This is rank heresy, and from a man who does not even speak our language correctly, and is not a priest ordained in our faith,’ muttered the priests. And he could make no headway.

The band continued their journey, and arrived in the land of the fourth tribe. Now a fourth disciple stepped forward in the assembly of people.

‘The story of making fire is true, and I know how it may be done,’ he said.

Confusion broke out within the tribe, which split into various factions. Some said: ‘This may be true, and if it is, we want to find out how to make fire.’ When these people were examined by the master and his followers, however, it was found that most of them were anxious to use firemaking for personal advantage, and did not realize that it was something for human progress. So deep had the distorted legends penetrated into the minds of most people that those who thought that they might in fact represent truth were often unbalanced ones, who could not have made fire even if they had been shown how.

There was another faction, who said: ‘Of course the legends are not true. This man is just trying to fool us, to make a place for himself here.’

And a further faction said: ‘We prefer the legends as they are, for they are the very mortar of our cohesion. If we abandon them, and we find that this new interpretation is useless, what will become of our community then?’

And there were other points of view, as well.

So the party traveled on, until they reached the lands of the fifth community, where firemaking was a commonplace, and where other preoccupations faced them.

The master said to his disciples:

“You have to learn how to teach, for man does not want to be taught. First of all, you will have to teach people how to learn. And before that you have to teach them that there is still something to be learned. They imagine that they are ready to learn. But they want to learn what they imagine is to be learned, not what they have first to learn. When you have learned all this, then you can devise the way to teach. Knowledge without special capacity to teach is not the same as knowledge and capacity.”