Is Karma Real? The Definitive Answer

Is Karma Real-

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching” -C.S. Lewis

Guys, I solved it!

I finally figured out the answer to a question that has confounded humanity for thousands of years!

Perhaps for those who fundamentally subscribe to the Hindu & Buddhist religions, this question has already been answered, but for the rest of us, it’s still persisted:

Is Karma Real?

And, I, Chad Daniels, have finally answered that question definitively:

It doesn’t matter whether or not Karma is real.

Yes, I said it. That’s not a knock on Buddhism or Hinduism. They may be right, and all of our actions in this life will influence the situation of lives further on. That one, I can’t answer. However, it should not influence the way we act in our day-to-day lives. Why?
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#Human: The Preface

#Human Front Cover

Friends,

With extreme gratitude we announce the release of my new book #Human: Learning To Live In Modern Times. Very much in line with the ideologies of My Mastery: Learning to Live Through Jiu Jitsu, this book dives straight into the matter of cultivating an amazing life. Traversing the spiritual landscape from seeing through the illusion of self to serving our fellow man, this book is a guide in assisting the reader’s growth toward a self-actualized life. This is the preface of that book, and I hope it finds you well.

Pre-orders for the Ebook are available now on Amazon, and both the Ebook and Paperback will be available on Monday, December 15th.

All of the proceeds from this book will be donated to Feeding America! This means that each Ebook sold will secure and provide 62 meals to those in need, and each and every Paperback will provides 42 meals! Our goal is to use #Human to provide 100,000 meals to those in need!

We are both excited and humbled to be able to serve on such a massive scale, and we sincerely hope that you join us!

All the Best,

Chris Matakas

#Human- Learning to Live in Modern Times

Preface

“One does not discover the absurd without being tempted to write a manual of happiness.” – Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

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We Are All Artists

Van Gogh Self

“When I was a child my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll be the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.” - Pablo Picasso

Many, many generations ago, when man existed as wanderers across the land, and hunted in packs, societal acceptance was an absolute prerequisite to survival. Our very life depended on the acceptance of the group, and so we acted accordingly to ensure that we would remain part of that group, and be granted the benefits of the pack. We received food, shelter, safety, and mating opportunities as a result of this acceptance.

There is a distinct evolutionary advantage to being liked by your peers, and a biological leg up to those who were capable of facilitating this. Those outside the norm were more likely to be outcasts and less likely to pass on their genes resulting in a Darwinian urge for the human race to seek peer approval. This has served us well as we have exchanged caves for houses, fire for electric, and brute force with cunning invention. This desire for acceptance is a direct source of the jobs we earn, the relationships we cultivate, and the friendships we enjoy. But, as with just about anything, excess breeds folly.
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Life’s Standards of Performance: 12 Do’s and Don’ts

Dos and don'ts word art



There you are, walking away from a heated argument. But you feel good. You feel accomplished. Your head is held high. Finally, you got to say exactly what you wanted to say when you wanted to say it. What a rare opportunity! But, the next day you wake up, that conversation is still on your mind and you don’t feel as hot as you did 24 hours ago.

“What gives? I won. I should feel great, but now I just feel like crap.”

Yea. That’s a place I’ve been to a few times. My ego transforms into this uncontrollable giant fire-breathing grizzly bear thing that consumes everything in his way (it must be the redhead in me). Each time I apologize and subsequently promise myself that it won’t happen again… until it does.

On the path of self-discovery, you become faced with the same challenges over and over again. Despite your values, there are flaws in yourself that you just can’t seem to overcome. I listened to the awesome Tim Ferriss/Tony Robbins podcast the other day. At one point (around 48min), Tony talks about what drives happiness – and it’s so simple, but rang so true:

Progress = Happiness

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My Birthday Manifesto

Fall Creek Falls

It was mid-July 2013 and I was on the tail end of a road trip with two of my closet friends. Departing New Orleans in the morning and driving through the day, weary, with tired eyes, we arrived at dusk in Fall Creek Falls, TN. Luckily, we arrived thirty minutes before the sun set, and decided we had to hike to the base of the waterfall before we lost all light. In those thirty minutes, at the base of the waterfall I experienced awe in its purest form. It was so amazing, I actually didn’t speak.

However, I was so moved, it made me think about life, and with all the emotion that was flowing inside of me, I left my friends, and wrote a manifesto for myself. These were words that I knew would lead to happiness if I followed them.

Today is September 11, which also happens to be my birthday. Obviously, I share it with one of the most tragic days in American history. On every birthday, I evaluate the year I just lived, and decide if I’m moving on a path that’s ultimately going to lead to a life well-lived. Simultaneously, this day reminds us to “enjoy every sandwich”, and know that each day we get is a gift, not a privilege.

Today, on my birthday, I wanted to share my manifesto – the rules I live by. I hope they make some sort of impact on your day. Here goes:

Be kind.
See the world.
Complement people you don’t know.
Turn your phone off.
Who cares what people think you look like when you dance?
Don’t stick your ass out when you give a hug. All or nothing.
Make up rules to games and play them.
Go on a road trip.
Stay in a hostel.
Pay attention.
Seek experiences, not possessions.
Never stop learning.
Never stop teaching.
Say yes.
Challenge yourself.
Get uncomfortable.
Go to nature.
Eat cheaply.
Try on funny hats.
Build a fire.
When in good company, drink late into the night.
Embrace struggle.
Seek out wisdom. People have probably already made the same mistakes you’ve already made and many you’ve yet to make.
Read Aristotle.
Fall in love.
Be vulnerable.
When appropriate, listen to music and sing loudly.
Find your values.
Live by them.
Sleep outdoors.
Find your art.
Listen to your friends criticisms, those are the people who will tell you like it is.

At the base of the falls

On the Oneness of All Things

bee and flower

“You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.” - Alan Watts

True intelligence and awareness is gazing at a bee on a flower and understanding that the two are actually a single organism. In our attempt to break down the world into small, digestible chunks, we have created a misperception in the way in which we view, and articulate this view, of the world. As our ability to verbally communicate has grown over the eons so has our vocabulary to make this possible.

The human language is an addict’s rendition of classification, where we continuously divide experiences into farther and more select subsets of various types. We do this in an attempt to better understand the world. We as a species feel the more specifically we can label an experience or entity, the greater we can heighten the illusion of an isolated experience, the better we come to know that very experience.

There is no greater example of this than taking place at the nearest flower.

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Independence Day: Living Up to the Name

American Flag - Independence Day

“Man is born free and yet everywhere is in chains.”- Jean Jacques Rousseau

On this day 238 years ago, we declared our independence from the kingdom of Great Britain. There was a time when the states were recognized as individuals, and people would say “The United States are..”. Now we stand 50 in number and exist in a state of unity, as people now proclaim, “The United States IS..”.

It is an honor and privilege to have won the genetic lottery having been born in this relatively free country. Though this union has its flaws, as all civil states must, in large, life in America is — in a word — opportunistic.

Yes, the odds are stacked against us, as the gravity of the collective values and ideologies pulls on each one of us daily. But, unlike many countries even to this day, we are given the opportunity to resist the natural inclination of the path trodden black.

We, should we consciously choose to, are free to create the life we may lead.

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Why I Train Jiu Jitsu

Ricardo Almeida Jiu Jitsu

“I will become a better me for you, If you will become a better you for me.” – Jim Rohn

In the past few days I have been asked numerous times why I train Jiu Jitsu. My inquirers expect answers involving arm bars and berimbolos. In truth, these are the farthest from reasons why I practice this beautiful art.

I train because it makes every area of my life better, and it makes me better at every area of my life.

I am a better son, brother, friend, and teacher because of the daily sacrifice and effort I put toward my craft. WIth all the advantages modern society has created, it has left us wanting. We no longer need to struggle to survive. Our basic needs are now met with minimal physical strife or mental challenge. Technology and the advances of man have left us over-stressed and under-performing.

We are now forced to actively pursue our struggles. If we do not go out of our way to stretch our comfort zones and grow, no one nor nature will do it for us.

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Forge Meaning, Build Identity, & Allowing Yourself to Feel

Happy Sisyphus

Note: This post was influenced by the wonderful TED Talk by Andrew Solomon

“We are like the little branch that quivers during a storm, doubting our strength and forgetting we are the tree—deeply rooted to withstand all life’s upheavals.” – Dodinsky

Imagine that you have the power to take yourself to an experience that you’ve had before. Where would you go?

Your first kiss?

Maybe the time you got your first acceptance letter to college?

Or, how about the time you jumped out of an airplane and lived to tell about it?

Feel good? Awesome. Now, I want you to put yourself in a time that sucked and made you feel really really shitty. Don’t just read that sentence matter of factly and carry on. Take a moment to honestly put yourself in that situation. Seriously, do it.

Perhaps a time when someone broke your heart?

Maybe when you got fired from your job?

Whatever it is, think about it and let it marinade. No, I am not a sadist. This is an experiment.

What emotions did you feel? More importantly, what did you do in response to those feelings? What did that experience do for you constructively?

These are important questions to ask yourself when your emotions are neutral because it allows you to address these situations with logic. When faced with a difficult circumstance do you give yourself time to let your emotions sit in and actually feel, or do you do what you can to push them aside and distract yourself by thinking about anything else that will cause you to feel anything but that?

If you veer toward the latter part of that question – like most people do – you are stunting your growth.

We’re conditioned to avoid sadness, suffering and pain.

Yet, those feelings afford us the only true currencies that allow us to really live. Without those experiences, we are deprived of the necessary tools to forge meaning in life and ultimately build an identity. And it is through the actions of forging meaning and building your identity from sadness, suffering and pain that provide you the ability to help others do the same and experience real, unmanufactured joy.

Don’t try to simply maximize pleasure and eliminate pain. That does not lead to the perfect happy existence. On the contrary, it masks your reality with a veil of numbing feelings that close you off from authentic experiences and prevent you from becoming who you are truly meant to be.

You don’t find meaning in happiness. You forge meaning through pain.

So the next time you experience something really shitty, don’t starve yourself of an opportunity. Take some time to acknowledge, accept and embrace the pain.

Then ask yourself, how can you forge meaning and build identity?

On the Polarity of Things

Pink Orchard

“Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery — the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets — is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together.”
- Alan Watts

In life we too often focus on the foreground, and forget the background. We view things in space to be more real than the space itself. We forget that things can only be things when there is something which is not a thing, the space. Conversely, space can only be space when there is something that is not space, the thing.

I have been going on many bike rides recently and find myself struck by the beauty of these pink, flowering trees. I find their inspiring majesty almost too much to take, and am often forced to look away for a few moments to prepare myself to take in their magnificence. Continue reading