More Philosophy Please

Totally agree. I wanted to get a degree in Philosophy when I was in college. But back then no one really knew what to do after school besides teach or preach! Now, you can teach life skills. People look at it completely different. And, it’s still my favorite subject.

Lynn Thaler

Philosophy in education is often belittled by the public.  However, philosophy is more than just studying what ancient thinkers believed.

It also includes the study of thinking.  Studying philosophy can improve a person’s critical thinking skills, which improves their chances of success in the workforce and in every other aspect of their lives.

There are many principles found in philosophy that would benefit students, so I think it should be used more in our educational systems.

What do you think on the topic?  Is philosophy overrated or is it underutilized?

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Gratitude, what does it mean to you?

It doesn’t take more than a second these days to be grateful for the life we live. Just turn to any news channel at any time of the day and you will surely see something that triggers your gratitude. The feeling  lasts for a second then we go about our day. This doesn’t mean that we don’t care, just that we can easily be consumed with our own lives, our own problems. 

I am an American. I feel that we Americans, sometimes take for granted the freedoms we are afforded. In many places, wars are waging, people are starving and beaten down, people are dying and truly suffering.  They do not have what we have, freedom.  Due to the constant media coverage of tragedy, we’ve become almost immune to the suffering that we see around us. I don’t know about you, but it cuts deep through my soul to see the things that happen to my fellow brother and sister in the less fortunate areas of the planet. I feel helpless. It’s hard to know where to go, what to do, how to help. 

What can you do?  You can start with you. You alone have the power to change how you react in this world or how you don’t react. When we are grateful for the life that we live, we can find a place of compassion for others. Starting a gratitude practice is a good place to begin.  There are many good books and websites to start you on the path. Oprah Winfrey is a fan of the gratitude journal.  Click this link to read her take on it:

The Dalai Lama wrote extensively on the subject in his book the Art of Happiness.

World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.

Dalai Lama XIV

You could also begin a meditation practice. Inner peace, as the Dalai Lama says is the manifestation of human compassion. Being compassionate to ones self is the seedling to compassion for others.  Read this interview with Oprah Winfrey and the Dalai Lama. It’s a quick short summary on the subject.

For me, I have recently found that in writing and sharing my thoughts with those of you who are reading my blog, is my own sort of gratitude journal.  Sometimes in seeing how others reach for change within themselves, it presents an opportunity for the observer as well.  We could all use some positivity from time to time. Helping myself is a way to help others. My words can help you. Your words, your actions can help too. 

I end this by writing down the things I am grateful for. I’ll start with a few: My life, my family, my friends, my job, my pets, my freedom, my compassion, my voice, art, music, nature, the many voices and writings of people who are helping others. There are endless things to be grateful for if you just stop and think on it. I encourage you to do the same. Write it down, reflect upon it when things go awry. You’ll instantly be uplifted!  By practicing gratitude you are better equipped to help others. We all need each other. We need to find a way to Peace. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on gratitude. ❤ RB 

Thinking about Love

With Valentines Day behind us, I woke up this morning with reminder that another year has gone by without finding my life partner.  This is something I often think about, more than just post-Valentine’s Day. I miss being in a relationship. It’s nice to curl up next to someone each night, to share in life’s experiences and surprises. 

This thought spurred on a whole myriad of thoughts about the why’s and why nots. Why am I still single?  Why don’t I go out and find Mr Right?  Why don’t I make the time to do something about it?  Is there something wrong with me?  There are certainly external factors that keep me too busy to do much but work,  as well as many more internal ones. (The internal reasons are a topic to be pondered upon later!  What goes on in my head is a novel of its own!)  Then, this all led to a final thought as I took my morning bath. ‘Desire’.  Let me expound upon desire and my way of thinking about it. 

In the Buddhist teaching of impermanence, desire is what keeps us in a state of suffering.  Suffering keeps us from reaching enlightenment. If you can ease suffering in yourself then you can therefore reach Nirvava. This is the watered down version of it. Still, sounds easy enough. NO!  Not at all easy. We desire so much as human beings it’s really the universal human condition. Look around you, everyone working so hard, striving to get this or that. Even after a goal is reached, still wanting more. It’s a vicious cycle!  We can never be satisfied. We are like a vacuum always wanting to be filled. No amount of money, power, beauty, absolutely nothing can fill that void. That is unless you practice non attachment. Meaning: you realize the impermanence of all things, living and non living, and then get comfortable with the truth that nothing lasts. Even just being alive and breathing will cease to exist for us all one day. Wanting or desire creates the perceived need for the things that are fleeting.  We really have no control. This causes us to suffer!  See what I mean?  I know you do. And we can do nothing but accept that. That’s why it’s not so easy to control. We don’t like not having control. 

So this is where I finally landed in my mind, this is my truth to share. I have loved. I do live life, I breathe in air, I love and enjoy the people in my life, and  I have experienced the greatest love, a gift from God, my son! 

We humans, we have it made. We don’t realize how good we do. We are always complaining, fighting against life, not just ‘being’ in the moment of things. You see, this is the key. Gratitude!  When you feel that gnawing emptiness inside, fill it with gratitude. That desire for something that may not last or even ever come to existence, is a waste of precious time. We don’t know how much time we have, do we?  Enjoy life, accept others, live and let live. It’s much easier and you’ll be happier. You’ll be on a path to end your suffering. 

So even if I live my life without a life partner, I did live a life filled with love. I can live with that. And I am beyond blessed for having been given that much. Thanks for letting me share today.  May peace and love fill your every day. ❤️RB 

Choosing peace, choosing love.

I am making a personal decision regarding what I put out into the universe through my voice or my posts. I am going to be a vessel of love, peace, positivity, and inclusion. I am Buddhist and I believe in non violence. We can stop all this hate and violence. It begins in your heart. What we say and what we do have an affect on those around us. We should all stop and reflect on the words we say before they leave our mouths. Everyone needs to pause and think. Is it more important to be right, or is it more important to be at peace, to choose love? I choose peace. I choose love. I start with me.
I hope that my simple thought tonight brings peace to you. Maybe you’ll join in with me and spread the peace, spread the love. ❤ Rebecca Bond