#138 Happiness – The Asceticism of Happiness

welcome to the happiness podcast I'm dr. Robert puffs you can get the next episode of the happiness podcast right now on the tune in app on TuneIn new episodes of the happiness podcast part available a week early download tune in today and listen for free I don't know if you'll agree with this or not but I think as human beings in the modern age we have a tendency to really want to feel good and feel good all the time we go to school we get our first job we start making money and we want things to go well we kind of expect things to go well and if they don't we're not very happy and when it comes to physiological sensations I think we can go quite extreme let's use an example let's think about sleeping I don't know about you but I've known a lot of people when they miss that good night of sleep they're pretty upset they're pretty distraught they create a lot of stories about their day gonna be going really poorly and if they don't sleep for two nights in a row oh my goodness it can be a horrifying experience now mind you I'm not discounting their discovered but the stories they create about that discomfort can be pretty intense let me use another example I think it was about six months ago I had just come home from yoga class and I was pulling on my pants and all of a sudden my back went out and I could barely move I think it took about a good four months flying back to get back to shape and I don't think I'm that uncommon that sometimes most of us experienced time for our backs go out but what happens here with some people not all but some people quite a story's gonna be created about that back pain and they're not gonna like it and they're gonna do things to create suffering because of that back pain that internal suffering from the back pain but mental suffering about being in pain I mean in life we're gonna have times where we experience physiological pain and it hurts but the big difference today is that we want to explore is how do we deal with that suffering that pain and isn't necessarily something that we have to suffer from this is something we've all probably seen at some point in their lives we've been around young kids there are young kids and we'll see them do something that could cause some pain but what they do is they pretty quickly look around and see if their parents are upset and if their parents are upset then they get upset if they hear things like oh poor baby are you okay they'll start crying but if their parents say kind of neutral maybe don't even make a fuss about it they may just go on and keep playing they especially do that when their friends are around we may laugh about that but I'm not sure for all that different and with time we also begin to really hear the stories not from our parents but from our own head about this suffering is bad and we need to end it immediately but in today's podcast I want us to see that as a choice because if we choose to suffer we're going to the perhaps just perhaps we can see it differently and if we see it differently the suffering abates and not only bad but by seeing it in a way that we're creating this story about the suffering and that pain shouldn't be happening then what happens is we exe increase the suffering we're going through right now we make the situation worse let me go back to my two examples let's start with sleeping again as I said I think a lot of people get pretty distraught when they look at the clock at 1 a.m. and realizing they're wide awake and they're not sleeping they start thinking about oh my goodness I'm gonna be so exhausted the day it's gonna be such a long day I need to sleep and of course that pressure to sleep ads through their inability to not be able to sleep if they had relaxed they may not sleep but at least the next day they will have rested and if they don't create a story throughout that day to probably have a pretty good day and the next night to probably sleep better I think I've talked about this in earlier podcasts but if I haven't something happened to me about 10 to 15 years ago that I had to adjust to and it had to do with sleeping prior to this change I normally set about 7 to 8 hours like a normal person sleeps but one day I woke up and it had only been three hours I thought hmm what's going on here I didn't worry much about it because it's got it the next day did my thing and the next day I slept better but not this long I began to sleep quite a bit less it shifted from seven to eight to about three to six every day I talked to people that I trusted to trying to find out what happened and it appears that some of the change that I had been going through both for my eating habits and the way I quieted my mind helped me to start needing less sleep and so since that time that's about them honestly but I need between three to six hours consistently so when I wake up sometimes at one o'clock in the morning I have a ritual why typically it's this day in bed but I mean listen to some audio podcasts or audio book until either I fall back to sleep or at some point I just get up and begin my day but the one thing I don't do that definitely don't create a story at all about the suffering because I know if I need more sleep the next day I will you know but don't I'll just get up again and I found that that amount of sleep that I'm getting now has been very easy to adjust to and I like it because I have a lot more free time now I could have as you probably can imagine created quite a story about it because I know people who can't sleep very well and they definitely create stories about it and they go through a lot of things to change that or I just flow with it and it goes quite well now the second example I gave was about back pain and I know that everyone gets back pain but most of its seem to give it some time in our lives I seem to get it about probably once every three years three to five years where I get it and it's painful and it requires me to adjust my lifestyle a bit the main adjustment I make is instead of going to the gym and lift weights I usually shift at the pool and begin swimming more and I find that's a good way to relax my back pain and let my back heel but again I think we all know people who have back pain that really suffer from it and because of that suffering they often turned towards painkillers alcohol or other things to help alleviate that pain were perhaps the best thing them might be to get out there and exercise our back and get it better until it heals instead of working so hard at avoiding that back pain I remember once a tenement workshop on a guy who is an expert on back pain and he said that he had suffered from debilitating back pain but what had happened with him is he worked so hard not to reinjure it that he was barely moving and then one day he realized he could differentiate between back pain that would help him heal and back pain that would make him worse it was a very clear line and as long as he worked on things that caused him pain but it was healing his back versus doing things that caused it back to get reinjure he began to get well and was walking normally within a week it was pretty amazing and if you've ever been an athlete or if you know of any athletes that's often what they do instead of just giving their injury arrests they do things that cause them some pain but that pain allows that injury to heal I mean think of someone who like breaks our back and in the process of healing they have to go through physical therapy to start learning to walk again I mean of course those first few classes are gonna be pretty awful but that ability to face that pain allows them to heal I think psychologically it's really the same mechanism what happens is there's a trauma something psychologically upsetting happens what people tend to do is they try to suppress those feelings instead of dealing with them because it's painful they avoid the pain which causes them to say stuck the rest of their life I mean think of something intense like grape I mean it's a horrible experience but part of the healing process of rape is facing that pain the healing from it and not being afraid not letting that person that perpetrator keep us from living anymore it's important when we go through traumas to face them instead of walking away from them or what we're actually doing is suppressing them so now I want to take this conversation one step further but to a very deep place I don't know if you've ever heard of this term before but it's called asceticism and here's a google definition of that word satis ism severus self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence typically for religious reasons I don't know if you know this but all religions Hinduism Buddhism Christianity Islamic faith they all have a long history of asceticism in their faith that people that actively seek physical sensations that cause pain in order to develop their spirituality the way this can manifest is in numerous ways the two most famous examples are that of Jesus and the Buddha Jesus for example went 40 days and nights without eating the Buddha went over six years where he lived a very Spartan life barely eating and to the point where he became so initiated you could see his ribs and in the Buddha's case he was a prince so he clearly chose this physical path of suffering in order to reach enlightenment right now as I'm recording this there are monks in India and Tibet who live in very small caves sometimes about the size of a human body and they live there for years someone brings them food but they barely live on anything and they do it for years and it's their way of developing their spirituality I know these are extreme cases but the point is they're using physiological pain to develop their spirituality and I've spent years personally studying these people and I've determined that many of them not all but many of them truly reach advanced stages of human development through physiological suffering they don't get worse they're not messed up they're actually often extremely developed human beings and it's because of their physiological suffering that the rhesus high levels of development I mean if you're curious just start delving into the research this experience of asceticism has been going on for thousands of years and there's a lot of research and how do these people really develop into amazing human beings now I don't want you to think I've gone a little cuckoo and I'm recommending that we go through physiological pain to be happy I'm not Rick that but what I am suggesting is that instead of running away from pain instead of suppressing pain perhaps just perhaps we can see pain as something that can help us grow there's something we can learn from that we can use it as a tool for growth instead of as something that just we have to bear and suffer until it goes away I think we really have a tendency in the modern age to suppress pain to push it away to get rid of it ASAP and I'm not sure that's the healthiest approach to pain if we try to push it away I think there's a tendency of it to grow and get worse again it's much like not being able to sleep at night if we start fighting that like asleep we're probably gonna stay awake if we just flow with it and say you know I can make this work then what we'll find is we'll relax and that relaxation helps us to do a lot better with pain but not only that just perhaps just perhaps instead of running away from the pain or even flowing with the pain see pain as hmm I wonder if there's something I can learn from this maybe it isn't bad sometimes to go through physical pain and maybe it's something we can even seek out a little bit let me use an example I think if we're at a physical shape and we start working out we're gonna be in pain perhaps a lot of pain but I think we all would agree that that pain is necessary for our bodies to get healthy so let me carry it a little bit further if you'll be patient with me I know there's gonna be some listeners who are struggling with pretty severe pain right now I know there are because a lot of people do and maybe we aren't today but someday we might what if instead of saying hmm this is bad I need to do everything in my power to alleviate this pain we saw the pain as perhaps a teacher something that we can not only not run away from but something we can embrace I mean the truth is people have been doing this for thousands of years they didn't have pain killers in the past and not only bad there are people to this very day who actually seek some form of discover and it's a way to grow spiritually isn't that interesting so what if right now were in pain and instead of saying I need to get rid of this pain we say huh this pain could help me grow this may actually be a good thing something I could actually seek for development I mean just by saying that just by looking at it that way it's gonna soften the pain and mind you it may be a crazy idea but it's a crazy idea that people have been doing for thousands of years and some of these people have gone far in life have truly developed into beautiful souls so if we're suffering right now oh if we do suffer some day in the future physiologically and it's painful perhaps if we don't fight it's so hard and thrive so quickly to get away from it and perhaps can embrace it it won't cause us so much suffering instead we can actually grow from it and learn from it and see it as our teacher I mean again this may be an utterly crazy idea but it's one worth considering because in life sometimes life throws us some really difficult challenges and we're listening to this podcast to prepare for those so that not only can we grow from them not only can we handle them but we can actually embrace them and make it so that our lives no matter what are still beautiful that we can find happiness no matter what that we can find peace in any situation no matter what probably one of the most beautiful souls that ever lived that we can look to as an example is Saint Francis of Assisi he is truly a beautiful soul that definitely embrace asceticism we may not want to go down the path he went down but he is someone who lived well with physiological pain and he did a lot to change our world to be a beautiful place not just for himself but for others too so when we face those times instead of running from them and instead of trying to numb them immediately perhaps we can say I'm gonna perhaps embrace this just a bit and see if I can't develop into a more beautiful soul because of this pain thank you for joining me on the happiness podcast if you are enjoying these podcasts and finding them helpful I'd love a review from you or if you want to learn more about this podcast and the world of happiness please go to WWF penis podcast org that's happiness podcast org until next time accept what is love what is do you ever wonder why some companies do so well grow and to seem to keep coming up with great ideas and keep expanding while other companies are permeated with negativity lawsuits employee turnover and just overall unhappiness in the workplace whichever corporate camp you find yourself in or somewhere in between the key to any company's ongoing success is to invest in and help their employees perform at their peak performance there are very clear and specific things that people can do to perform well at work and in life in general this is a focus of my podcast and it's also the focus of my work being at the cutting edge of any market is sustained through investment investment in training employees how to perform well but sustain growth and productivity requires specific psychological tools in order to continue to perform at peak levels this is where I can help I've been studying peak performance for over 30 years now helping people all over the world and there are very specific things that have to be maintained in order to sustain this level of performance when companies invest in their employees their employees are invested in them unfortunately is quite common for companies should be doing exceptionally well in the marketplace but for unknown reasons key employees make poor choices leave the company or start struggling in coping with stress related illnesses companies that do well know their business really well but human behavior works in mysterious ways unless you've been trained to understand the causes and cures of underperformance if you're a forward-thinking company perhaps it's time to think about giving your employees skills that may really help them perform well at work and and throughout their lives if you work for or manage a company and you're ready to learn the skills in order to survive and thrive in any market in any conditions or in life in general I'd love to help these are the skills I've learned these are the ones I'd love to bring to your company last seen success has to be seen from a broader perspective not just monetary and if you're ready to bring about these changes that's where I can help to learn more go to www.michelintransport.com and you

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