They’ve discovered something better.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

Have you ever looked at someone and thought, How do they do it? Maybe they’re in phenomenal shape. Maybe they wake up at 4 AM every day to meditate. Maybe they produce more than anyone else in the office. Whatever it is, you think their willpower must be superhuman. And then you think bitterly, I can’t even get myself to go for a walk on a warm, sunny day!

But, before you jump on the self-flagellation train, know that there’s a secret to these people’s success. And it’s not what you think.

Have you ever wondered…

3 things wise people do to give themselves away.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash

What is wisdom?

Is it a vast accumulation of knowledge? It is extensive experience? Is it related to being morally or ethically upstanding? Is it knowing, in truth, how little one knows?

People throughout the ages have attempted to describe wisdom, from Aristotle and Confucius to the Buddha and Shakespeare. According to Neel Burton, author of Hypersanity, what they’re all getting at is that wisdom is the ability to see the causes of, and connection between, things. …

Hey Vincent!

Yeah, I'm not 100% clear on the purpose of the spiritual path. In the vaguest of terms, I think it leads to a happier, more fulfilling life. Why does it do that? I'm not sure. I think it has something to do with taking a different perspective on life than what's standard.

If that's true, mindfulness helps us on the path by giving us another perspective. When we see our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, etc., with clarity we begin to see that they are not what we thought them to be. We see them come and go with…

And having a practical tool for dealing with the rest.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

In the West, we tend to take an all-or-nothing approach to life. We’re taught to grab the proverbial bull by the horns and, through sheer force of will, bring it to its knees. There is no living in peace with the bull, nor is there any other sort of compromise we can make with it. We need to dominate the bull or else we’ve failed.

We have this same attitude toward our minds. We make mistakes, come up short, or fail to achieve our goals and then we pound ourselves…

According to science, it could be.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Nainoa Shizuru on Unsplash

Yesterday, I saw a post about someone’s young daughter who said, “When I hear music, it speaks to my heart.”

Besides being about the cutest thing I’ve ever heard, isn’t that the truth? Doesn’t music move us in ways that almost nothing else can? It can bring us joy, it can energize us, it can make us wistful or thoughtful. It can even have a strange bittersweet effect, where we feel both happy and sad at the same time.

Music seems to be a universal language for humans — in the sense that people…

Is it part of the journey or is meditation just not for you?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Max on Unsplash

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, there has been a surge in meditation app downloads. Perhaps this is no surprise. As far as years go, 2020 was a wild one. With the uncertainty around our physical health, the economy, racial equity, and democracy itself, it’s no wonder people sought refuge from the stress and anxiety of it all.

But, while researchers are busy trying to verify some of the purported benefits of meditation, what’s often neglected is a focus on meditation’s undesirable side-effects. For example, one…

Our minds hate contradictions.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

In the West, we hate contradictions. When we hear a politician or pundit say contradictory statements we think we’ve got them — “Aha! You’re a fraud and a fool!” we exclaim with delight. We’re taught from a young age that contradictions are wrong and bad, and that if we find one we should toss it out the nearest window.

In Eastern philosophies, however, this is not the case. Eastern philosophies have long embraced ideas the West would call “contradictions.” …

Do you wish your life could have gone differently?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

Last week, a good friend was telling me about his meditation practice and he said he regretted not starting sooner. I asked him why and he said he felt like he had wasted his time — like his life would have been so much better now if he had just begun earlier.

Sound familiar?

He was talking about meditation but it could have been anything. Don’t we all look back on our lives and wish things could have gone differently? Maybe you wish you’d asked out your crush in high school…

It should cause you to confront it with fierce compassion.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Nicolas Häns on Unsplash

What comes to mind when you think of meditation? Is it a monk in an orange robe sitting in silence for hours at a time in some remote monastery at the top of the world? Is it only there, removed from the squalor and troubles of the world, that you think the monk can finally find peace?

While having little else to do other than meditating is surely great for the monk’s practice, it’s not her isolation per se that is important. If isolation brought about enlightenment, we’d all feel at peace when alone with our thoughts. But that doesn’t…

No matter who you are or what you believe, but not in the way you think.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Shoeib Abolhassani on Unsplash

I want to preface this article by saying I’m not a religious person. I don’t “believe” in God in the sense that I think there’s some human-like being watching over us and causing this or that to happen. I won’t claim I know this being doesn’t exist, but I do go about my day as if it doesn’t.

I am, however, a spiritual person. What does this mean? To me, it means being curious about the mystery of life, in particular consciousness. …

Jeff Valdivia

Following my curiosity and hoping it will lead me to wisdom. I write about science, meditation, and spirituality.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store