The Path of the Peaceful Warrior.

The path of the peaceful warrior is one of infinite strength. The human heart has an infinite amount of compassion. The Art of Peace is a direct response to the Art of War. If we believe war is always inevitable then there will always be war. The Art of Peace allows the opportunity for another path. The path of peace.

Sadly, we mistake physical strength for emotional strength.

Many believe strength comes from rage, anger, and hatred. True strength comes from mercy, compassion, and love. When someone is hateful, they are in a weak state. They are tense, frightened, and fearful. When we are compassionate, we are loose and free flowing like a strong rivers current. We must show others another way. Not judge or hurt our opponent but to show pure compassion towards them as well.

The peaceful warrior trains his mind, body, and spirit. Eating a whole food plant-based diet trains all three of these. A peaceful warrior does not create more suffering into the world that is unnecessary. By being alive, we will cause suffering but we can do our best to not add more on top of this. There is true strength in showing mercy to innocent animals. We build our body strong through eating this way. It will give us the energy to strengthen our body, mind, and spirit right now and into old age. It will strengthen our muscle of compassion. It will strengthen our message of peace. How can we believe in peace and contribute to animal cruelty, torture, and suffering? This is not the way of the peaceful warrior. Our actions must be inline with peace. Peace is the way.

When my opponent shows apathy, I vow to show compassion.

When my opponent shows hatred, I vow to show love.

When my opponent shows war, I vow to show peace.

When

With Peace,

Johnny Hoffman

 

My Mission: To Alleviate Suffering in All Living Beings.

Aloha my brothers and sisters,

My mission is to alleviate as much suffering as I can in all living beings. It’s a lofty mission, but I’m excited to take it on as my life’s purpose. But first of all, I have to alleviate the suffering in my own life. How can I  fully help others suffer less if I can’t help myself?

It has been quite a month for me. For quite some time now I have had this lingering tension on the left side of my abdominal area which reached all the way to the left side of my jaw. I couldn’t figure out why I had this tension. At first, I was numbing it with alcohol every night which was getting out of control. The alcohol worked to alleviate the tension momentarily but the following day it would reappear. I was resisting this tension, which was causing me to suffer. A couple weeks ago, I was driving to work and the tension was almost unbearable, like a thousand tightly wound knots in my abdomen. I finally surrendered to the tension and accepted it. I did more than accept it, I showed compassion and love to it. My tension went away for 15 minutes of pure bliss and joy. I felt like I was floating in the sky or on an LSD trip. I enjoyed looking at the West Maui mountains as tears of joy went down my face. Soon though, I was back to the reality of my tension in my abdomen. Something awakened in me in that moment, I had to stop resisting pain and start accepting it for me to live a more peaceful life with less suffering. I had awoken to my mission to alleviate suffering in the world.

Fast forward two weeks. My meditation practice has been stronger than ever and I’m focusing on reducing my suffering. I eliminate alcohol and porn from my life because they both contribute to my own suffering. I also switched to a plant-based diet to help reduce suffering in myself, animals, and the planet. By changing my habits and intentionally reducing suffering in the world, I invoked suffering that was deep in my subconscious.

In my deep 30 minute meditations, I suddenly find myself reliving old memories from my childhood. All of these memories are either pure rage or rumination over unskillful actions I have done in my past (stealing, cheating, lying). Instead of judging or running from these memories, I choose to accept, love, and show compassion to myself. I imagine myself as a child, filled with rage, confusion, and fear.

Pain doesn’t decompose. Pain lives in us until we confront it with love, compassion, and forgiveness. Suppressing this pain never works.

“What you resist, will persist.” -Carl Yung

What could be more logical than showing compassion, love, and forgiveness to yourself? What could be more insane than hating, judging, and running away from yourself? Clearly, we need to hold ourselves accountable for our wrongdoings but after that is done with, we must forgive and love ourselves. As a child, I would throw temper tantrums when things didn’t go my way. I would have mental breakdowns when playing golf, basketball, or even when my favorite teams lost in the playoffs. This pain still lives on within me because I suppressed and ran away from it. I judged myself and labeled my former self as a sensitive, weak, and inferior version of myself. In my teen years, I was calm and collective for the most part because I vowed to never be that inferior self again.

Yesterday afternoon I fell apart and broke down. So many emotions running through my body. So much pain, suffering, joy, and pure bliss all mixed into one moment.  The tension was truly alleviated once I showed true compassion, love, and forgiveness to my darker side. Radical acceptance was key to ending my suffering and I believe it is key to alleviating the suffering of mankind. So many of us are hurt by old wounds that never properly healed. The people who hurt the most, hurt others. Almost all horrendous acts done by humankind are rooted in hurt individuals who look to cause suffering to others because they themselves are in so much pain.

I’m excited to share my journey to a more meaningful and peaceful life. I thank you all for reading this blog post. By reading this post, you help me live out my purpose to alleviate suffering in all living beings.

“When we learn how to suffer, we suffer much less.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

With the Aloha Spirit,

Johnny Hoffman

Resistance: The Root of Pain, Suffering, and Insanity.

We are either resisting life or accepting it.

Whether that be sitting in traffic, aging, sickness, or our own mortality. Many ignore the truth and live in an imaginary world of what life is supposed to be or should be. Anytime you say should or suppose to be, you are resisting the truth. Resistance to the truth of life causes suffering. So why do people choose resistance? Accepting the truth is scary while resisting gives us a false sense of security and control. It’s easier in the short-term to avoid or resist aging, disease, and death than accept it. In the long-term, it can cause a tremendous amount of suffering within you and the world.

Suffering = Pain x Resistance 

  • The world should be at peace, but it isn’t.
  • My parents should be supportive, but they’re not.
  • I shouldn’t be stuck in traffic, but I am.
  • Relationships aren’t supposed to be this difficult, but it is. 

Here is an example that will show you exactly what I’m talking about.

Jack and Jill are both studying for a Biology final at Harvard. Both don’t enjoy studying, it causes them both mental and physical pain to sit down for 5 hours in a room. They would rather be outside on a hike or hanging out with friends. Jill accepts that this necessary to pass the class while Jack resists and complains the whole time. Jill is at peace and actually enjoying studying, taking breaks to watch Netflix or call a friend. Jack sulks and stares at the book. They are both in the same exact situation, only Jill accepts the pain of studying and makes the best of it.

The most impressive study of acceptance vs. resistance is Victor Frankl’s story in his 1959 book Man Searching for Meaning. Victor Frankl was an Austrian Jewish neurologist, psychiatrist, and holocaust survivor. While at Auschwitz concentration camp he kept himself sane by studying fellow inmates behavior and noticed an astonishing correlation. Those prisoners who accepted their truth and found meaning were both healthier and happier than those who resisted their new life. Their suffering was caused by their resistance to life and not mere outside influences. If someone can find peace, purpose, and meaning in Auschwitz concentration camp there is hope for all of us.

But Johnny, shouldn’t we resist harmful situations?? Isn’t acceptance just giving up? I don’t want to lay down and give up!

I understand this perspective because I once believe that acceptance was giving up but nothing is further from the truth. We must accept our situation before we can make it better. The people who accepted their captivity in Auschwitz were not merely giving up but awakening to that they have no control over being prisoners in a concentration camp. What these prisoners did have control over was how they spent their time, how they perceived their circumstance, and to make the best out of it. They saw resistance as a waste of energy on what they could not control. Accepting the truth is both practical and logical for peace within.

Paradoxically, we must accept suffering before we can transcend it. We have to accept our suffering before we can be at peace with ourselves and the world. Accept that you have no control over other people’s actions and beliefs. Accept that everything is impermanent and that we can only control a small amount of our life.

Try to avoid all should or suppose to be statements. Ease your grip on life and how it’s “suppose” or “should” be. More acceptance and less resistance is key to a peaceful life with less suffering and more joy.

My mission is to alleviate suffering in all living beings.

“What we resist, will persist.” – Carl Jung

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

 

Staying Present: Breaking Free of Stress and Rumination.

Stay present. I’m sure you have all heard this cliche phrase, but what does it mean and why is it important? Nothing could be more important to your life than staying present in the moment. Nothing more crucial to your happiness. The present moment is all that we are guaranteed. Life is short and we must make the best of what we are given. Every moment is a blessing.

Suffering occurs when we worry about the future or ruminate over the past. I have struggled with this my entire life. My mind has been trained to obsess about the past and future while I suffer in the present moment. I’m not saying that thinking about the past and future is all bad. Our past can guide us to make better decisions in the present moment. The future can excite us and motivate us to make better actions now. The key words are actions and now. The past and future mindset is much like a treadmill, lots of effort but you haven’t moved forward. Let’s start training our minds to stay in the present 90% of the time while letting our past guide us and our future excite us the other 10%!!!

Now take a breath, look around, and enjoy this moment. Start to get outside of the constant mental chatter of the mind and enjoy life. The peace and joy that comes in the moment feel amazing. Think of the joy of being in an amusement park or doing something new. It’s pure bliss.

You might be asking how I stay in the present moment? I go on long walks, meditate, and practice mindful breathing. I stop periodically and ask “what am I doing right now?”. In those moments of full presence, I feel truly alive and awake. Peace and joy are the by-products of the present moment. I want all of you to live a more meaningful life.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

Enlightenment: Consistency, Hardwork, and Falling Down Over & Over Again. 

I define enlightenment as having overall peace, clarity, and contentment in life. It is not separate from the world or only for spiritual gurus. It’s achievable for everyone.
In February of 2015 I awoke to the truth of what my life had become. At 24 years old I was overweight, unhappy, and anxious. For the previous two years I had been constantly numbing myself with gambling, cigarettes, alcohol, over-work, and fast food. I did this because I hated who I had become and wanted to avoid thinking about my actions. This all changed when I admitted to my ex-fiance that I cheated on her. I also had been hiding this secret life from my family and friends. Instead of running from the pain, I sat with it and was transformed. Sitting with the pain allowed me to see the truth of my past and present situation. There was no one else to blame but myself for how my life had unfolded, I was only victim to my own unskillful actions. Self-compassion​ and forgiveness were some of the hardest things to cultivate after the many years of negative self-talk. I was so miserable that I had to take action to improve my life. My old life wasn’t produces the results I wanted so I knew I had to change. I felt like an empty canvas. Ready to start new habits and have an open mind to new ideas.

In the following months I changed my life. I meditated an hour a day, eat healthy, worked out, volunteered, and started reading Buddhist philosophy. A book titled Buddhist Bootcamp by Timber Hawkeye changed my mindset from entitled to grateful. The book helped me forgive myself of my wrongdoings and show self-compassion. I lost 35 pounds and felt amazing spiritual, physically, and emotional. I felt peace I had never felt in my life. I felt enlightened.

Fast forward to November 2015 and I’m drinking right after work, smoking cigarettes, gambling, and partying every Friday and Saturday night. So what happened?? How can you go from feeling  enlightened to partying in a couple months. It was quite easy actually, it all started with thinking I was cured of my suffering. That I didn’t need meditation, exercise, and I could relax my diet. I also took a sales job which I knew deep down would cause me suffering. I was soon depressed, lonely, and miserable again.

A few more months pass and I hit another rock bottom around March 2016. This one wasn’t as harsh because I knew what I had to do. I had a template of how to decrease my suffering and be at peace again. I once again started meditation, long walks in nature, working out and eating right. I felt good again and was at peace. Old habits don’t die easy though because this peace did not last long.

I move to San Jose in August 2016. Sadly, I don’t even try to connect with the community or try to make new friends. I felt lonely once again and start drinking more often. This was a time of nothingness, of no growth and very little memories. Maybe it was meant to be this way, a time where I could make my next move. I decided I wanted to move to Maui in December of 2016.

From Jan-April 2017 all my focus was on saving money to move to Maui. I was blessed to be around my family and friends back in Sacramento,CA though which helped me feel connected. My diet was horrible though and once again was overweight. I moved to Maui in April 2017 with my eyes wide open! I felt a sense of exploration and joy.

I fall once again into old habits. Soon I’m smoking cigarettes, drinking tons of alcohol, and eating spam musibis. I feel anxious, stressed, and lonely once again. I knew something had to change and fast. My first step was my health. I decided after watching the documentary Forks Over Knifes that I would persue a more plant-based diet. I switched my diet to a pescetarian diet, meaning I only eat fish, dairy, fruits, vegatables and legumes. I lose 25lbs and feel amazing. Presently I’m working on becoming a vegan and becoming more active in my local community. I meditate, write, read and go on long walks every day. I’m working on getting stronger by going to the gym regularly. I still feel lonely at times and would love to meet other like-minded people on Maui. This is my next step to feeling a sense of community on Maui.

Big picture take away from this post is that peace, enlightenment, contentment or what ever you want to call it takes hardwork, consistency, and you will fall down alot. The key is to rise everytime you fall. Don’t judge your unskillful actions but learn from them. Find a template that works for you to thrive and try to follow it as best as you can. I’m just sharing my template in hope that you can take one piece of it and apply it to your life.

Growth is life. If we are not growing we are dying.

With Aloha,

Jonathan Hoffman

The Mindfulness Awakening.

We are living in the midst of the mindfulness awakening.  This movement is a direct backlash to the mindless practices of the 20th century. The food we consume and the institutions we support matter. Our food matters. The latter part of the 20th century was a time of greed and exploitation leading to factory farms, sweatshops, and the highly processed diet of the western diet. These practices have led to the suffering of the environment, animals, and humanity. When we harm the environment, we harm ourselves. When we cause suffering to animals, we cause suffering to ourselves. Everything is connected.

Family farms turned into factory farms, which brutally massacre and cause great suffering to chickens, cows, and pigs. These factory farms cause great suffering to the animals, the workers, and the environment. The sewage runoff contaminating freshwater rivers and lakes while killing thousands of fish. The factory farm workers are usually illegal immigrants who have to deal with psychological and physical damage from unethical working standards.

Starting in the 1970’s, the government gave huge subsidies to farms to increase corn, soy, and wheat production. This cheap corn, soy, and wheat are then processed into most of the foods we see at the grocery store and at fast food chains. These government subsidies coincide with the rise of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

In the same time frame, we saw the rise of cheap material goods made in China, Indonesia, India, and Bangladesh. These sweatshops use unfair labor practices and cause suffering to their employees. The rise of cheap goods has led to the hoarding movement of 1990’s. The average American household has 300,000 items, most which find their way into landfills.

There is hope.

Organic locally run farms are popping up all over the country and companies like The Ocean Cleanup are devoted to cleaning up the environment. Movements like minimalism and plant-based diets are growing exponentially. We the consumers can change the future with our wallets and conscious. I have adopted a pescetarian diet with plans on going vegan in the near future. I support ethical clothing companies like Conscious Apparel. I buy Tom’s toothpaste and deodorant which doesn’t test their products on animals. I buy organic foods as much as possible. By changing your habits you are in fact changing the world. Knowledge isn’t powerful unless there is direct action. Once we have knowledge we have a choice on how we live our life. 

There is no difference between healing the planet and healing ourselves.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

With Aloha,

Jonathan Hoffman

 

The Power of Meditation. 

From CEO’s to professional athletes, the practice of meditation is becoming more normalized in the United States. Meditation has also been extensively studied by neuroscientists who have found scientific proof that meditation can rewire the brain, making us more compassionate and loving people. Meditation isn’t going to make your life perfect. Think of it as a mental health exercise that can alleviate mental stress, anxiety, and depression. Adding it to a healthy diet and workout regiment for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Our mind is like a puppy wandering towards every stimulus in the park, never truly focusing on the present moment. The goal of meditation isn’t to control our thoughts but to not allow our thoughts to control us.

In its most basic definition, meditation is allowing everything to exactly exist in its present state. Sounds easy right? It’s not, our mind loves wandering to the past, future, or how things should be but they are not. Meditation is about training the brain so you are not tormented by cravings, impulses, and the natural tendency for our mind to focus on the negative.

I discovered meditation when my ex-fiance and I broke up. My anxiety after the breakup was so bad that I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. My stomach was constantly in knots and my mind was in chaos. One day I researched the benefits of meditation and found out that it could help alleviate anxiety. After trial and error, I started meditating 10-60 minutes a day. I couldn’t believe how great I felt after my meditation. My anxiety & stress seemed to vanish and I felt more content with who I was in my entire life. Life has had its ups and downs since then but I can always find my peace while meditating. It helps me focus on the present, express gratitude, and show compassion to myself and others.

I invite you to try meditation for yourself. Find a meditation that works for you. Whether that’s a mindful walking meditation or sitting on a chair/cushion. The first step is to focus on your breath, which will center your body and mind. Whenever your mind wanders, you can bring it back to the present moment by focusing on the breath. With the power of Youtube, Google, and all the different applications like Calm or Headspace you can find your own path of meditation that works for you. Just remember, meditation won’t always be pleasurable just like working out or eating healthy isn’t always enjoyable. The benefits of meditation our felt when leaving the cushion. The benefits of compassion, love, forgiveness, and focus.

With Aloha,

Jonathan Hoffman