Big Egos.

The ego whispers “you’re right”. Unchecked, our ego will lead us into hatred of anyone who different than us. Hatred cannot be stopped by more hatred. It’s a vicious unstoppable circle of ego, fear, and hatred. Without the light of peace, the circle is infinite. Apathy & fear fuel the ego. I believe compassion and love can bring humanity true peace. Does humanity really want peace though? That’s a million dollar question. If we truly want peace we have to be mindful of the ego and its tendency to label everything as “right” or “wrong”. Labeling is the first step to hatred and violence. Labeling isn’t always bad (foods, streets, colors, etc) but when we label our fellow humans we put them in boxes; which we then label “right” or “wrong”. This distorts reality and makes peace difficult.

Understanding is the first step towards peace.

Without understanding peace is not possible. This is why mindful listening is so important in peace talks. Understanding the suffering inside another is a skill we can develop with compassion. Understanding, compassion, and peace are intertwined at their core.

Do we truly want peace or to be right? 

I see this in my fellow animal right’s activists. Well-intentioned people who let their ego blind them. They care more about being right than understanding meat eaters. They end up pushing their meat-eating brothers & sisters further from plant-based living; causing more violence in the world. We all have been guilty of letting our ego take control of a conversation. I intend to show true compassion to all living beings, even those who believe the exact opposite of me. How will they know peace if we don’t show them? MLK, Gandhi, Jesus, Buddha, and Mother Theresa all preached this message of peace.

Let’s start today by mindfully listening to others instead of allowing our ego to lead into hatred. If we truly want peace in this world we must live peacefully with all living beings. By living this way, we leave the world a better place than we arrived.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

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What’s Your Dream?

This blog post is about the new American dream and my perspective on it. This post is not to demonize the traditional American dream or to tell you there is a “right” or “wrong” way to live your life. There are many different paths up the mountain.

 

Every decision leads to another. Even the smallest of steps can lead to a big decision in our life. Much of our lives are spent preparing, enduring, and recuperating from changes in our life. Suffering occurs when we resist the inevitable changes in our inner or outer environment. Our dreams change as well. Many achieve celebrity and find out they are even more miserable than before. We must adapt and change with our dreams.

Complacence and stagnation is the easiest route but in the long run, they often lead to disappointing results. Often the more difficult route leads to joy, contentment, and freedom. Freedom, in my opinion, is the most important concept for humanities overall happiness. Freedom is the American Dream. More importantly, freedom is the dream of all sentient beings.

I distinctly remember at 12 or 13 years old learning about the reality of the American dream. At this point in my childhood, I realized that the American dream sounded like a nightmare!! The American dream was not my dream. To work a job I disliked for 40 plus years and buy a house that would take 30 years to pay off sounded horrifying. I couldn’t believe that most people wanted this out of their one life. I wanted something different out of my life; to experience true freedom. But as the years went by, I slowly accepted my fate and forgot about my dreams of freedom. By the time I was 17, I wanted to be a millionaire with a wife and kids by the time I was 30 years old. In retrospect, I just wanted to fit in with societal norms. Societal norms are taught to us at an early age by family, teachers, commercials, tv shows, and movies. They shape our perspective at an early age. We end up accepting these norms to fit in so we don’t feel like an outcast. It’s ingrained in our DNA to want to be accepted so we are cast out of our tribe, which would end in our death. In our modern society, we have the freedom to question all societal norms and seek out like-minded individuals who share similar values.

In the past 3 years, I have questioned much of what I learned as a child/young adult about what success is. Is success having a career, wife, and two kids? Do I want a life blanketed with security or a life flourishing with freedom? Luckily my immediate family did not reinforce societal norms and thus allowed me to have an open mind. It was much easier for me to break out of the societal norms with a supportive and understanding family/friends. The biggest realization I have had was that my true dream is similar to what I enjoyed as a kid. I was mesmerized by maps, globes, and open space; now my dream is to travel and works remotely around the world. In many ways, my journey has allowed me to embrace my inner child. The child who was curious and open to new experiences. The inner child was just suffocated by fear, doubt, and worry.

I value freedom over security. I value love over fear; curiosity over indifference. With a shift of perspective comes a shift in our dreams. New possibilities can bring joy instead of fear. Your American dream is whatever you want it to be. Just remember each decision is ours to make and ours to take responsibility for.

Do you truly want freedom? Whats your dream? What must you let go of for you to live the life you want to live?

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

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The Noble Truth.

Everything & everyone is impermanent.

All matter is in a constant state of flow.

Many resist this noble truth.

Hiding from its ever casting shadow.

Running to distraction.

Denying impermanence.

 

Resistance is futile.

Resistance is suffering.

Resistance steals joy.

 

The time is now.

To accept this noble truth.

All matter is in a constant state of movement.

 

Now is the time to live.

Now is the time to love that you are alive.

Not fear your impermanence.

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Be the Change.

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.”

Mohandas Gandhi

The world seems to be on the brink of destruction. News station reporting new mass shootings every week. ISIS beheading videos posted each month. Global climate change killing our ocean’s coral reefs and causing severe hurricanes. How do we keep sain? How do we live our lives with love in a world full of hate? That last question is a tricky one. We are actually living in the most peaceful time in human history! The difference is that our ancestors lived in small communities with little knowledge of events happening outside of their village let alone other countries. In a world of 24/7 news, we have become addicted to outrage, fear, and worry. We are not only what we eat. We become what we watch, listen, and pay attention too. So if we only watch the news, then it’s understandable why we have become fearful of the world. The internet is a medium of total human consciousness. Lots of random thoughts and ideas scattered throughout YouTube, blogs, and Facebook. Within the internet, there is a lot of fear, hatred, and worry. The internet is full of white noise. This white noise can distract us from living a meaningful life full of purpose, altruism, and growth.

Back to the purpose of this blog post, how can we change the world when we are just one small part of it? As Gandhi said, we must become the change we want to see in the world. This will keep our spirits high and keep us motivated on our path. You would be surprised at how much you can change the world with your diet, consumer choices, and by simply living your life in line with your values.

To begin our journey to living an intentional life we must be radically honest with our self. Radical honesty is saying what you truly mean without being mean. Many of us walk around being dishonest with our self. This leads to pain, suffering, and steals joy from our lives. We are fearful of the truth because it will make us uncomfortable. What we don’t realize is that our happiness is often found going through that discomfort. If we don’t face it, we often suffer in stagnation for the rest of life.

I now eat a whole food plant-based diet. Most of my life I was eating a standard meat & dairy diet all while claiming to love animals, environment, and my personal health. BUT my actions were not in line with what I was saying. I was being radically dishonest with myself. I knew the horrors of factory farming but still contributed to it. I was fearful of the discomfort of switching my diet and having to let go of a tradition. Through cognitive dissonance, I rationalized violence and unneeded suffering for my taste buds. I recommend watching “Cowspiracy”, “What the Health”, or “Forks over Knives” on Netflix.

Saying we are compassionate does not make the world more compassionate. To change the world into a more compassionate place we must take compassionate actions every day. Be the change.

We also can take action in the clothes we choose to buy. Many sweatshops make their employee’s work 16 hour days in unsanitary and deadly work conditions. They pay their employee’s extremely low wages so we as consumers can get cheap clothing and goods. “The True Cost” is a great documentary on Netflix about the problems of fast fashion in developing worlds. We can change the world by being more intentional with our dollar by choosing to buy used clothing or from companies that provide better working conditions and wages for their employees.

Do we want to be part of the solution or the pollution?

My intention is to never judge another for causing unneeded suffering in the world. I have caused plenty of pain and suffering in my life. My true intention is to empower myself and others to make healthier choices that cause less suffering in the world. Shaming rarely get’s other people to make long-lasting changes while empowering others energizes the spirit and keeps us strong for the long haul.

Here are some of the ways we can take action today to make the world a more peaceful place for all living beings.

-Transitioning to a 100% plant-based diet.

-Choosing fair trade.

-Organic produce.

-Buying ethical clothing.

-Not buying wool or leather.

-Reusable water bottles and containers.

-Less driving. More biking & walking.

-Buying locally.

-Cutting back on consumer goods.

-Buying used.

-Transitioning to solar energy.

We can take action right now to make the world a better place today, tomorrow, and for the coming generations. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world. In this way, we can preserve compassion, peace, and love in our hearts and minds. We will be living intentionally and authentically with our true self. We will be living our message with is much stronger than just speaking it.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

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Black Hole.

 

 

A black hole appears.

Gravity stronger than a billion suns.

Pulling me slowly into its endless abyss.

Will I be sucked into the darkness?

 

My mission.

My purpose.

My vision.

Is to alleviate suffering in this world.

Will I fulfill this life’s mission?

 

The black hole of distraction.

It’s gravity stronger than a billion stars.

Addicted to scrolling.

Scrolling through the darkness of social media.

 

There are no passions found in the black hole.

Only distraction.

No purpose or meaning.

Countless missions left incomplete.

 

 

Social media & distractions are not all meaningless blackholes. But we must be careful that we do not get sucked into their gravitational pull. Set boundaries. Know the signs of addiction. Use mindfully. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innocent Living Beings.

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By just being alive I will cause suffering in the world.

But I strive to negate as much as I can.

 

I vow to look at all living beings with compassion.

I vow to look at the suffering I cause in the world.

I vow to take action to alleviate suffering in all living beings.

 

Rape, torture, and death.

I see a tear go down a mother cows cheek.

I hear the last squeal of a suffering pig.

How we call ourselves peaceful while supporting such violence?

 

Blinded by industry lies.

Cold with apathy.

Myths.

Outdated traditions.

 

Wake up to compassion.

Wake up to peace.

Wake up to 2018.

A time of abundance.

A time where we don’t need animal products to survive.

 

 

There is another way.

A way of peace.

A way of compassion.

A way of love.

 

Will you join me?

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