Focus 7 – Reflect & Renew


“great obstacle is always the representation and never the reality.” Ricard Mathieu – The Art of Happiness


Are you thinking about that quote? Good – that’s reflection and it is in internal reflection where some of our best answers are found. In his fantastic book The art of happiness by Mathieu Ricard he talks often about the Buddhist practices of Solitary contemplation – meditation and the amazing internal strength and clarity that can be developed in this process. Ricard proves that great mental control can be achieved through meditation and my point is that does have to be Buddhist meditation. It is just a Buddhist strategy that can be borrowed (and the Buddhists would lovingly give it to you).

Woh! This is getting way too deep for the section where we are supposed to be lying on a deck chair right?

Well honest reflection and renewal is sometimes not even possible without realigning our selves internally.


“As influential as external conditions may be, suffering, like well-being, is essentially an interior state. Understanding that is the key prerequisite to a life worth living.” Mathieu Ricard, Happiness


There are often times in life when we just cannot change the external conditions in which we have to live. But what we can always reflect on and reinvent is the way in which we live in that situation.


This entire passage is from “the art of happiness” by Mattihu Ricard and covers this point so beautifully that I have not dared say it another way.


“We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us,” wrote Rabindranath Tagore.8


How do we dispel this basic ignorance? The only way is through honesty and sincere introspection. There are two ways we can undertake this: analysis and contemplation. Analysis consists of a candid and systematic evaluation of every aspect of our own suffering and of the suffering we inflict on others. It involves understanding which thoughts, words, and actions inevitably lead to pain and which contribute to well-being.


Sincere introspection. Analysis. Contemplation. Understanding thoughts, words and actions. Hey this is starting to sound like habit one of your philosophy! And thus we have gone full circle!



“Pleasure is the happiness of madmen, while happiness is the pleasure of sages,” wrote the French novelist and critic Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly.


Here are some great ideas for reflection and renewal and some strategies to help you in regards to your health and fitness:


WHAT IS HEALTH FOR ME? – “What is health? Most people answer this question by saying that health is the opposite of illness, but health is more than the absence of disease — it’s a positive state of being. Health is wholeness. To be healthy means not only to possess a well-functioning body and a sane mind but also to vibrate with life, to be vitally connected with your social and physical environment. To be healthy also means to be happy.” Yoga for Dummies – Larry Payne

WHAT IS FITNESS FOR ME? – Are you fit and healthy in body and mind? Are you as capable as you want to be to perform your work and enjoy your leisure?

  1. fit|ness


  1. the condition of being physically fit and healthy: “disease and lack of fitness are closely related” · [more]

synonyms: health · strength · robustness · sturdiness · hardiness · vigour · [more]

  1. (fitness for/to do)

the quality of being suitable to fulfil a particular role or task: “the medical board assessed his fitness for active service”

synonyms: suitability · capability · competence · competency · proficiency · ability · [more]


One of my favourite quotes is “Your health is a necessity for the duties and the pleasures of life”

RELATIONSHIPS – Does your current level of health and fitness have a positive impact on your relationship to yourself and the world or a negative impact?


ARE YOU HAPPY? – In relation to your health, fitness and lifestyle what would make you happier?


“Pleasure is the happiness of madmen, while happiness is the pleasure of sages,” wrote the French novelist and critic Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly. Matthiu Ricard, Happiness


“Authentic happiness is not linked to an activity; it is a state of being, a profound emotional balance struck by a subtle understanding of how the mind functions.” Matthiu Ricard,


What is happiness for you anyway?



REPLACE BAD HABITS – Are there any bad habits in your life that you know you should replace?


“Smokers know that one in two will die from it, but they continue.”


LEISURE – How can you make your leisure time more positive for your health, fitness and lifestyle? Any one for tennis? Or any other sport? Or gardening? (I’m a keen gardener)


STRESS – What are the main stressors in your life you would like to remove?


WORK – What can you do to make you work better for your health, fitness and lifestyle?


HOLIDAY – What holiday plans will you make? Can it be an active and rejuvenating holiday rather than a busy and toxic one?


SEEK SUPPORT – The fact is sometimes we need to be shown the way to do things properly and have a light shined down the path we need to go down. Three basic ways in which you can do this is to seek people, programs or books. There’s no shame in seeking help whether it be for physical exercise or mental exercise. A personal trainer can be a great help with physical exercises but also provides emotional outlet for some people. Personally I also find I get great mental, emotional and psychological exercise from reading happiness literature and philosophical literature. Other people find it extremely helpful to talk to a friend or a mentor or counsellor.


Reflection and Renewal should be at both the end and start of the path to your better health, fitness and lifestyle. It is only during these moments of thinking and rejuvenating ourselves that we can clarify who we want to be and where we want to go as a person.




Focus 7 – Reflect & Renew

REFLECT AND RENEW “great obstacle is always the representation and never the reality.” Ricard Mathieu – The Art of Happiness…

March 19, 2018

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