Darkness, Transformation, and Redemption.

The darkest moments of my life led to the most transformation. The darkness brings self-reflection, awareness, and focus.  This is only if we do not numb the pain with alcohol, drugs, and/or overeating. When a family member suddenly dies or a relationship ends, we can have moments of pure awareness and clarity on what led to this moment in time.

My first experience with this transformation was when I was honest with my ex-fiance about my infidelity. She left me the following day. At first, I numbed myself with distraction but when her parents moved all her stuff out of our studio I was forced to sit in a dark & empty apartment. My first reaction was to run away and move to a new place. Luckily I chose to stay in my empty studio. The following weeks I cried every night in sorrow. Pain, suffering, and anxiety filled each moment until one day I picked up a book called “Buddhist Bootcamp” by Timber Hawkeye. Suddenly I was meditated 1 hour a day, reading, writing, eating healthier, and working out every day. I quit smoking and significantly cut down on drinking alcohol. My days were now filled with joy instead of sorrow. This all took place from March-May 2015 in San Luis Obispo, CA. Since then I have fallen back into old habits, relearn lessons, and also had new transformations from suffering. I began a journey of self-love, peace, forgiveness, and acceptance; a journey I am currently still on (and always will be). There is no destination on this path, only the love of the journey itself.

The famous Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says “No Mud, No Lotus”. The beautiful lotus flower grows in the darkest and muddiest environments; I truly believe humans are much the same as the beautiful lotus flower. The right environment for growth usual consists of awareness, compassion, and love while we are suffering. Once we learn how to suffer, we suffer much less. Suffering can actually be the most transformative process of life if we allow it to be.

Through the darkness, we can transform ourselves and become the light to see out of the darkness. We accept the darker side of ourselves (and the world) with compassion, understanding, and peace. In this practice, we feed the light while accepting the dark. This allows for peace instead of war. The key to transformation is to sit with ourselves through the pain instead of distraction or numbing the pain. The coldest winters of my life have always ended with a warm inviting spring. All is impermanent, even the darkest of times.

 

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

Welcome To Heartbreak.

I cried.

I begged.

I promised I would change.

I poured my heart out.

I suffered alone.

 

How could you not want me back?

Why can’t you forgive me?

How could you be so cold?

How could you be so heartless?

 

Welcome to heartbreak.

The heartbreak of rejection.

The sadness of regret.

The pain of looking in the mirror.

Self-hatred.

Anxious days.

Depressed nights.

 

Through the pain, I learned how to be the lotus flower.

For the lotus flower grows in muddy waters.

 

Through suffering comes joy.

Through suffering comes peace.

Through suffering comes transformation.

No mud, no lotus.

 

My heart is now filled with gratitude.

Thank you for letting me suffer and grow.

Thank you for letting me go three years ago.

Thank you, Alicia.

Hope all is well.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

Backstory: 3 years ago in Feb 2015 my life changed forever. I finally told my fiance that I cheated on her. She left me that day. I felt heartbroken, fearful, and anxious. I had to sit with myself. Sit with the anxiety, pain, and loneliness. Sit with the self-hatred. Through that suffering I found a new way of life. A one of meditation, mindfulness, and joy. 

no-mud-no-lotus.jpg

 

 

(Main photo: Kanye West, 808’s & Heartbreaks)

 

 

Impermanence: The Beauty of Decay, Death, and Transformation.

I know death is a hard topic to discuss. We tend to avoid it out of fear even though we logically know that everything is impermanent. I’m grateful for life and death. There can’t be one without the other. 

You and I will die. The Earth will die. Our Sun will die. Our Solar System will die. The Universe will die.

Well at least in our conventional sense of death….

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.

If energy can neither be created nor destroyed then we are infinite. The matter that makes up our body has been around since the dawn of the Universe and it will live on for infinity after we die. On a cellular level, we are constantly transforming, with old cells dying and new cells being born every second.

The Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and many other Buddhist teachers talk about the laws of Physics in their discussions about death, life, and impermanence. Impermanence is one of the key principles of Buddhism and many Buddhist’s meditate over their own death. Why not prepare for the inevitable? It’s one of the few things we are guaranteed.

Be grateful for death, without it we wouldn’t be alive. Just think of the approximately 108 Billion people who have lived and died on Earth. The Billions of Dinosaurs that had to die for us to eventually evolve into conscious species. A supernova (death of a star) creating the matter for our Sun, Earth, and Solar system to be created. Without the death of our ancestors, we would not be alive and our death will allow other humans to get a chance at life.

Without death, there is no life.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaching’s discussed that there is no birth or death, just transformation. You and I are a transformation of our parent’s DNA, and our bodies are a mixture of elements that have been transformed into a conscious human being. We are not full of human but full of elements like oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen.

Many of us walk around as if we live forever. We all logically know our own death but choose to ignore it. We assume that we will get old and deal with it then even though we could die any minute. This is all a delusion that is motivated by fear. If we fully embrace impermanence today we can live our life full of gratitude, love, and freedom. Without the fear of death, we can fully enjoy life. Freedom from the fear of death is a great feeling, one that I try to cultivate in my meditations.

I know this topic is hard to discuss and I thank you for reading this blog post. My intention is not to be sad or dark, but to bring light to the darkness. To change our perspective on death from one of fear to love and from anger to gratitude. 

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman