finding meaning

25% off on Calming the Storm

25% off Calming the Storm

Expires on 30 September 2016
30 day online program to discover your meaning in difficult times.

Note Coupon code is: carolknoxcalmingthestorm1

Introduction
A lack of meaning might be called a malaise of our times. When we encounter challenges in life, often we discover that we can’t find a center, a way to cope.

What is it all about?
Studies measuring meaning and purpose in life have found that meaning in life mediates uncontrollable stress and substance abuse, depression, anxiety and self-derogation, among others. This meaning or deepest human value, this WHY, points us to reach beyond ourselves, to enrich our lives, and to unfold a deep fulfillment in our work and personal lives.

camps bay

About This Program
This program offers daily ways for you to overcome difficult situations, to help you to find the WHY that will energize and animate your life. In finding your own WHY, in discovering your meaning and your purpose, your pain will be lessened. You will discover ways to unfold meaning, as well as a personal calling through tasks that you can fulfill, relationships that you can strengthen and enrich, and attitudes that you can develop and cultivate.

 

Is Meaninglessness a Malaise of our Times?

A lack of meaning might be called a malaise of our times. When we encounter challenges in life, often we discover that we can’t find a center, a way to cope. What is it all about?

Studies measuring meaning and purpose in life have found that meaning in life mediates uncontrollable stress and substance abuse, depression, anxiety and self-derogation, among others. This meaning or deepest human value, this WHY, points us to reach beyond ourselves, to enrich our lives, and to unfold a deep fulfillment in our work and personal lives.

About The Program – Calming the Storm

This program offers daily ways for you to overcome difficult situations, to help you to find the WHY that will energize and animate your life. In finding your own WHY, in discovering your meaning and your purpose, your pain will be lessened. You will discover ways to unfold meaning, as well as a personal calling through tasks that you can fulfill, relationships that you can strengthen and enrich, and attitudes that you can develop and cultivate.

This practical, inspiring, and potentially life-changing program will take you step by step through a process towards a more fulfilled and enriched working and personal life.

Why is Discovering Meaning Important for Your Personal and Working Life?

avanoo.com-carolknox

In living a more meaning-full life, one can get a deep sense of purpose both in one’s personal and working life. Research by Steger, Oishi and Kasdan, in a paper entitled: Meaning in life across the life span: Levels and correlates of meaning in life from adolescence to older adulthood, showed that the:
“more meaning in life people reported, the greater well-being they experienced, at all life stages.”

In the words of Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning:

What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment”.

One of the ways described by Frankl for discovering this meaning is through helping others.

Research by Fave, Brdar, Wissing and Vell-Brodrick in the paper: Sources and motives for personal meaning in adulthood, bears out that across cultures and age groups, one of the most important ways of discovering meaning is through relationships, including relationships with family. Other ways are through work, religion, experiences and pursuits.

Frankl said that in experiencing something or encountering someone we discover meaning. By intentionally turning our focus to how we create value for others, whom we impact or encounter in our work and personal lives, in these moments, we are discovering our own meaning. In this way we are able to live a more meaning-full life and enjoy a greater sense of well-being over all our life stages.

For a 30-day online, 3 min per day program on Discovering Meaning, go to: Avanoo: Calming the Storm

 

Calming the Storm ~ 30-Day Program

calmingthestorm

I am delighted to announce my new partnership with Avanoo Avanoo (pronounced “Avenue”) comes from the words Ava, which is Finnish for “Open”, and Noo, which is Old English for “now”. So Avanoo means being open to all of your potential right now! It is also a road we travel as we move forward in life.

In 3 minutes a day, Avanoo offers dozens of personalized 30-day programs ranging from Happiness to Productivity from renowned experts on those topics.

The 30-day program has been launched on 19-11-2015 called: Calming the Storm: How Discovering Meaning can Change your Life.

See the link below for three previews. I would like to thank the amazing team for all the hard work in bringing this to fruition: Sara Dickinson, Daniel Jacobs, Prosper Nwankpa, Morgan Stanfield, Laura Forman, Jason Waldron and everyone who worked on the program.

Introduction

A lack of meaning might be called a malaise of our times. When we encounter challenges in life, oftenwe discover that we can’t find a center, a way to cope. What is it all about?

Studies measuring meaning and purpose in life have found that meaning in life mediates uncontrollable stress and substance abuse, depression, anxiety and self-derogation, among others. This meaning or deepest human value, this WHY, points us to reach beyond ourselves, to enrich our lives, and to unfold a deep fulfillment in our work and personal lives.

Calming the Storm

What’s Inside

Day 1.
This Too Shall Pass
Day 2.
Finding Something to Live For Is Critical
Day 3.
The Question of Meaning in Life
Day 4.
Love Can Come to the Rescue
Day 5.
Putting Your Focus on a Project
Day 6.
The Power of Your Mindset
Day 7.
Finding Meaning from Suffering
Day 8.
Turn Suffering into a Challenge
Day 9.
Is Fear Holding You Back from Your Calling?
Day 10.
Learning Self-Compassion
Day 11.
Suffering Can Be an Inspiration
Day 12.
Appreciating Life Right Now
Day 13.
Your Watershed Moment
Day 14.
We Are Whole as We Are. We Are All Right
Day 15.
The Call That Beckons Us to Find Our Destiny
Day 16.
Filling Our Unique Life Space
Day 17.
What Is Your Choice of Response?
Day 18.
Finding Something to Live For
Day 19.
Life Questions and Light in the Darkness
Day 20.
The Experience of Love: “The Salvation of Man”
Day 21.
Are You Your Own Best Friend?
Day 22.
Is It Ever Okay to Give Up Hope?
Day 23.
Going with the Flow
Day 24.
Good News! You Do Not Have the Heart of a Mouse
Day 25.
It’s Time for Self Transcendence
Day 26.
Igniting Humor
Day 27.
Access a Power That Is Uniquely Human
Day 28.
Relieve Your Loved Ones from Suffering
Day 29.
Do the One Thing That You Know in Your Heart Is Right
Day 30.
“I Broke My Neck, It Didn’t Break Me”
Photo by Carol Knox.

Unleashing Your Potential | My Journey to Releasing my New Avanoo Program | Calming the Storm: How Meaning Making can Change your Life

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I am delighted to announce my new partnership with Avanoo Avanoo (pronounced “Avenue”) comes from the words Ava, which is Finnish for “Open”, and Noo, which is Old English for “now”. So Avanoo means being open to all of your potential right now! It is also a road we travel as we move forward in life.

In 3 minutes a day, Avanoo offers dozens of personalized 30-day programs ranging from Happiness to Productivity from renowned experts on those topics.

I am working currently on my program called: Calming the Storm: How Meaning Making can Change your Life. I will publish here my progress. For now I have almost completed all the Daily Noos, (pronounced”Daily News”), and I give you the titles of 20 here:

1. “This too Shall Pass”

2. Finding Something to Live for is Critical

3. The Question of Meaning in Life

4. Love Can Come to the Rescue

5. Putting your Focus on a Project

6. The Power of your Mind-Set

7. Finding Meaning from Suffering

8. Turn Suffering into a Challenge

9. Learning Self-Compassion

10. Suffering can be an Inspiration.

Today 29 November, I am adding some of the new Daily Noos that are now ready:

11. Filling our Unique Life Space

12. What is Your Choice of Response?

13. Appreciating Life Right Now

14. Your Watershed Moment

15. We are Whole as We are. We are Alright.

16. The Experience of Love. “The Salvation of Man” (Viktor Frankl)

17. Are you Your Own Best Friend?

18. Is it Ever OK to Give up Hope?

19. It’s Time for Self Transcendence.

20. Igniting Humor.

For more please visit Avanoo once my program is launched. I will keep you posted about the launch date. This program is intended for those who are facing life challenges or storms. I am aiming for a pre-Christmas or New Year launch date. In the mean time do go along to Avanoo to view amazing programs offered by experts from across the globe, to help you unleash your potential and overcome challenges and storms.

Influenced predominantly by Dr Viktor Frankl, Dr Teria Shantall, Mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn and others, Buddhism and Zen thinking.

Image purchased at Creative Market

Freedom and Suffering

stones purchased image

I would like to share with you today, a video by Christoph Eberhard sharing the ideas of Viktor Frankl on freedom and suffering. He reads from: Man’s Search for Meaning. I strongly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in meaning or for those who have existential questions. I really like the simple way that Christoph presents and shares these ideas. Here are some wonderful quotes from his video page on Vimeo:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl

“Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.” Viktor E. Frankl

“The way in which a man accepts his fate and all he suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity – even under the most difficult circumstances – to add a deeper meaning to his life.” Viktor E. Frankl

“Life is not a void to be filled. It is a plenitude to be discovered.” Christoph Eberhard

Balanced stones image purchased.

Long Exposure – Epiphanies and Meaning Unfolding – Lived Experience

Long Exposure – Epiphanies and Meaning Unfolding – Lived Experience

Among the people you’ve known for a long time, who is the person who’s changed the most over the years? Was the change for the better?

ambs 3

My daughter Amber. I had a call from her this morning. She talked about the incredible challenges she experienced in B. She is one of the organisers of a debating tournament. She explained how she really felt a deep spiritual understanding of how the world works. How she got through immense problems while feeling she was: “just able to keep standing in her skin”. She talked about how she was challenged as an individual to the very boundary of her being, her exhaustion, pushing through and becoming far beyond what she thought was possible. She learnt what she is capable of as a human being, while actualising the following Franklinian values and sources of meaning, achieving a self-transcendence: the creative value, doing something in the service of others – “we experience meaning only when we make use of our gifts and fulfill our unique calling in contributing to society” ~ Paul Wong. Goals or projects that are future oriented; experiential value, relating to other people, life and nature with openness and appreciation, strengthening herself, others and her personal relationship. Finding meaning through love and loved ones; attitudinal value, which applies to finding meaning in times of suffering – in helping others and becoming what she had to become when confronted with very difficult circumstances, including helping someone who was seriously ill – transforming suffering, revising life goals, positive meaning and lessons, spirituality ~ Paul Wong.

In Amber’s own words:

“…i love you all, and i am proud of you all, and i can’t wait to work to move forward with this as the foundation that has spread so strongly among us through the toughest of circumstances.

you have changed how i view debate, and the world, and myself, and i cannot thank you enough…”

She is very blessed to have had this opportunity to really work on a deep level in her experiences in this situation, which when confronted with it, she became for others. How extraordinary to have had this opportunity to really extend herself. I am deeply happy for her, to have had these challenges so young and to learn so much about herself. She talked about how the spiritual teachings she has been exposed to at a young age, (Buddhist teachings from Geshela’s and teaching in India when she was 13), had given her a kind of inner bedrock of strength to work from. I wept when I realised that the teachings I have exposed her to, have had a profound impact on her life, in ways neither she nor I could have expected. I am grateful to all my precious teachers, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for enabling me to be a vehicle to bring the Dharma, (dharma is the universal truth common to all individuals at all times, and it is regarded as one of the primary sources of Buddhist doctrine and practice), to my daughter, who has brought it to her partner, through lived and challenging experiences. She was protected.

Image courtesy of Carol Knox.

What you Think becomes What and Who you Are

My Grandparents

My Grandparents

My grandparents, standing first and second on the right.

What you Think becomes What and Who you Are

ETutor: Early reflections on who I am 05/03/2014

These reflections form part of my eTutor training with the University of South Africa, (UNISA). I would like to record my journey here. The emphasis of the training is on forming communities of practice, where we can reflect in a safe environment, support and learn from one another. For many the online tutor environment is new.

Regarding my early reflections. I was mostly raised in my early years by my grandparents. My mother was a single mother with two children to support, so it was easier that I lived with my Grandparents. These two wonderful people influenced me in profound ways. They were deeply religious and belonged to the Nederlandse Gereformede Kerk – NG Kerk. They were warm people who accepted all. At the skirts of my grandmother I learnt respect for all. Sometimes we would travel by train to visit far flung family. Some of the family were farmers in the Karoo. The history of my grandparents is: they were sheep farmers, my grandmother was a farm school teacher. The depression came as well as a drought and they lost everything, They made their way to Durban with five small children to support. Times were very hard and they were very poor. My grandfather got a job in Customs at the Railways.

So each December we got a free rail pass, and used it to visit family. This was the first time I was exposed to not only racism but also cruelty. My grandfather’s brother treated his workers badly, swore at them and such. He was cruel to the animals, sheep and pigs, with some horses and cows, also a large black dog. From what I remember I was around 12. It left deep wounds in my being, since I had never before encountered such things. I learnt that racism is taught, it does not come naturally, as is cruelty taught. I became a vegetarian after witnessing the slaughter of a sheep. It was gruesome and horrific and has continued to give me nightmares.

These experiences deeply shaped who I have become. My children were raised without prejudice towards others and they were never aware of differences based on population group, gender, background. They never even described their friends in these terms. Again it affirms for me the importance and power of teaching and providing a living example – on how one develops.

With these formative influences I have come to see how easily people are defined by population group and other group formations. In the workplace I have even been told that I mustn’t think I am privileged because of the colour of my skin. Prejudice is easy. Standing against it is not so easy. At university my youngest daughter sees people sitting together in population groups and it pains her. However, she is lucky enough to be deeply involved in debating, where the mix and balance is more comfortable for her. They accept one another for the commonalities that they share.

Therefore, I am deeply sensitive to the issue of respect for one another. When I did corporate training I was fortunate to train members of the Department of Labour. We were doing Conflict Management and we were talking about difference and how this can lead to misunderstanding. I shared that I was a lacto-vegetarian and how this sets me apart maybe more than anything else. I related my story of what happened when I was a child. Most delegates could not understand my choice, they worried about what was left to eat. It was amazing when one delegate stood up and said: “I can understand this. I have chickens at home. I do not want to kill my own chickens, I am fond of them. I would rather go to the store to buy one there.”  Then everyone had an example that they could relate to.

For me, I work from the premise that we all have more in common than we are different. I view difference as interesting and something to learn more about. I think we all have to watch what we think, because that becomes what you speak and that becomes what and who you are.

Image courtesy of Carol  Knox.

carol-and-brett-with-geshela-damcho-outside-padme2

Binding Judgment | Beatific Smile no Black and White

Binding Judgment | Beatific Smile no Black and White

brett and carol

Does it ever make sense to judge a book by its cover — literally or metaphorically? Tell us about a time you did, and whether that was a good decision or not.

“…the men I have noticed, the ones with the particular blend of nuances that speak to me with a silvery cord, a unique alchemy,” (from an earlier post: List Lesson | Things I Remember).

The first time I saw him, I just knew. A kind of knowing you have little control over. I think it happens on many levels. Pheromones definitely come into play, as well as mostly subconscious linkages that hook into a kind of emotional, unspoken secret, that which attracts one to another. It has happened this way a handful of times and in my experience, only happens this many times in a lifetime.

It was his height, at least 6’3″ that first caught my eye. A lovely construction of the face and the beatific smile. Just as one can imagine a thousand ships launched for Helen of Troy, so this particular construction launched my ship. His hands, sculpted, like the hands of David. And, that smile! In matters of the heart, the rational mind does a kind of disengage. So, even though one knows on an intellectual rational level, that this may not be workable for you, it is overridden by the primitive brain, the basal ganglia do “get it” first. Researchers at the MIT Picower Center for Learning and Memory in the Feb. 24 issue of Nature, 2005, found that the primitive areas in the basal ganglia, do seem to have a greater role in high-level thinking processes than thought before. However, it takes some time for the cerebral cortex to catch up.

By the time my cerebral cortex caught up, it was too late. The pathways were already carved. Did the original response to the judging of the book cover link to a good or bad decision? I prefer not to think in these matters in black and white. Love is something beyond these climes and for me, was a valuable and life changing experience, a kind of honesty, never mind the fallout. In the words of the timeless Viktor Frankl:

“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.” 
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Did I grasp the “other” innermost core? Yes, I did. Did this person actualise his potentialities? No, he did not. I can still glimpse him in others, many years later, a particular walk, height, bald head, build, but never again that beatific smile.

Brett and I with our precious teacher Geshela Damcho

Brett and I with our precious teacher Geshela Damcho

Images courtesy of Carol Knox.

Brett Pelser: May he find peace. I discovered this notice in the Sunday Tribune of 2007. PELSER Brett, father of Trinity-Ann. Service at Glenwood Community Church, Glenwood on 28/03/2007. Now I know when to remember his passing.

To see some information about the Venerable Geshe Damcho Yonten, see the Lam Rim Buddhist Centre.

The Reclining Buddha

Dream Teacher | Teachings of the Buddha

buddha

Dream Teacher | Teachings of the Buddha

You can choose any person from history to teach you any topic you want. Who’s your teacher, and what do they teach you?

I would like to have sat at the feet of the Buddha to hear the early teachings.

“The kind of seed sown 
 will produce that kind of fruit. 
 Those who do good will reap good results. 
 Those who do evil will reap evil results. 
 If you carefully plant a good seed, 
 You will joyfully gather good fruit.”

Dhammapada

This is because of the profound effect these teachings have had on me. The Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths & the Eightfold Path:

Buddha delivered his first teaching. It is called “Turning the Wheel of the Dharma” and “Dharma” is the truth he discovered. He began to tell the five monks that they must know that there are Four Noble Truths from Buddha Mind Info:

1. Noble Truth of Suffering

“Chasing after the delights of the world, expecting them to bring lasting pleasure, always leads to disappointment. These things are all subject to the miseries of birth, old age, sickness and death. Even when you do find something pleasant how soon do you grow tired of it? None of these ‘things’ offer any real satisfaction or peace.

2 Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering

Not being able to be content with what we have or who we are, our mind is filled with a greed or desire and suffering of all types automatically follows. This attitude of selfishness and greediness is the cause of our dissatisfaction, robbing us of our peace of mind.

3. Noble Truth of the End of Suffering

Seeing the suffering that comes from these attitudes we are liberated from our heart and all our suffering and dissatisfaction will come to an end. We shall experience a happiness that is far greater then our ordinary pleasures and a peace that is beyond words.

4. Noble Truth of the Middle Path or the Nobel Eightfold Path

This path leads to the end of all suffering. If we avoid harming all other living beings, if we sharpen and focus our mind, and if we gain wisdom, each of us can reach perfect happiness, the end of all misery. The way to end suffering is to follow the  Noble Eightfold Path namely:

Right Understanding
Right Thought
Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Right Effort
Right Mindfulness
Right Concentration.”

 

The Reclining Buddha

The Reclining Buddha

 

For me, to receive these teachings and others directly from the Buddha, would be the ultimate teachings. From these teachings I find my purpose and my meaning.

Image courtesy Carol Knox.

 

See BuddhaMind

For free teachings see the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive

Futures Past | Oh What I Wanted to Be | Is Our Society Insane?

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Futures Past | Oh What I Wanted to Be | Is Our Society Insane? 

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close or far are you from that vision?

I am reading R. D. Laing: The Divided Self as a teen and I am entranced by the possibility of an Anti-Psychiatry movement. I see how an insane society bends and constrains us, the population, within Western Culture, to fit a consumerist and psychological norm, which is so far from what could really be called “sane” that we are profoundly maladjusted and in fact insane.

Krishnamurti: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

In The Sane Society the Pathology of Normalcy is mentioned by Erick Fromm, he writes:

“It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas or feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings. Nothing is further from the truth. Consensual validation as such has no bearing whatsoever on reason or mental health. Just as there is a folie à deux (a madness shared by two) there is a folie à millions. The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same mental pathology does not make these people sane.” (p14)

Did I become a Psychologist? I wanted so to help those experiencing profound life crises. No, for various reasons, more’s the pity. However, I have found Logotherapy and see myself as a Logotherapist in the future, amongst other things.

My new vision is of myself giving therapy from my home, surrounded by roses and herb gardens, having become a writer and continuing my online and mindfulness training and teaching. The focus of Logotherapy is on meaning, rather than adjustment. This is my path to my own meaning, into the future.

According to Viktor Frankl, meaning can be found through, (presuppose the spark for life meaning, to make man capable of what they can become, elicit/make a person become what he in principle is capable of becoming), found in Psychology Today:

  • Creativity or giving something to the world through self- expression,
  • Experiencing the world by interacting authentically with our environment and with others, and
  • Changing our attitude when we are faced with a situation or circumstance that we cannot change.
     

 

Header Image purchased at Creative Market – Huge Nature Photo Set. One license only. View cool stuff to purchase.

Unum Necesse | The One Thing that is Required | Will to Meaning

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Will to meaning refers to the basic striving of human beings to find and fulfill meaning and to create purpose in their lives. People reach out to find meaning which they can fulfill. Meaning is in a very real sense the unique demands made on us in the particular situations we find ourselves in throughout the course of our lives. It has a moral quality which requires a responsible response in a way that makes each individual personally accountable to answer these demands in a way that is “right”. Frankl was clear that: “It is the task of conscience to disclose to man the unum necesse, the one thing that is required” (Frankl, 1977:34). Meaning is always discovered and not invented. “Conscience” is the “wisdom of the heart”, (Frankl, 1977: 39).

According to Frankl meaning can be found in three broad ways: 1. Experiential values – experiencing something or someone we value, which might be akin to Maslow’s peak experiences which have a transcendent quality. 2. Creative values – doing deeds, becoming involved in projects, or being deeply involved in one’s own life. 3. Attitudinal values – these include values such as: compassion, bravery, and humour. The most significant here though, is the achievement of meaning through suffering. To choose how to bear one’s suffering for Frankl, was the last inner freedom which could not be taken away.

Reference:

Frankl, V. (1977). The Unconscious God: Psychotherapy and Theology. London: Hodder & Stoughtan.

Image purchased at Creative Market – Huge Nature Photo Set