Tag Archive | Love

On Love and Gratitude: Stacking

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What’s your most powerful practice?”

Loving Gratitude [<link; short length], or Grateful Love.

“Is this an instance of practice-stacking, so that whenever you practice one you also practice the other?”

“It is that, and more. It’s an instance of concept-stacking [<link; short]. I’ve fused the two concepts together, so that whenever I think of one I also think of the other.”

“Can you give a practical example?”

“Each practice has an associated mantra. 

For Love it’s ‘I love …‘ 


I love x. (Template [<link; medium])

I love climbing.
I love learning.

I love you x.

I love you Dani.
I love you Dani-who-I-was. 
I love you Dani-who-I-will-be.

I love you my dear Body.

I love you Life.
I love you Day.
I love you Moment.

I love you x for y.

For Gratitude it’s ‘Thank you …


Thank you.

Thank you for y.

Thank you x.

Thank you x for y.

Whenever I express Gratitude by saying ‘Thank you …‘, I also express Love for something related to it by saying ‘I love …

Whenever I express Love by saying ‘I love …‘, I also express Gratitude for something related to it by saying ‘Thank you …‘”

On Love and Templating

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“The Buddhist virtue of Loving-Kindness is interesting. It’s a composite structure, joining together what could be conceived of as two distinct values: Love and Kindness.

We could think of it as expressing Kindness in terms of Love. Or, metaphorically, viewing Kindness through the lens of Love.

This has practical application.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Viewed as a template [<link; medium length], the structure looks like this:


Using the template, we can expand its application, obtaining similar meaningful structures:


Further deconstructing it, we get a structure of the form:


This opens up yet more possibilities.”

The Past as Resource

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

The past is a beautiful opportunity to practice Love and Gratitude.

“What’s your practice?”

“For me, thinking of the past is like a ritual.

Whenever I think of a past experience, positive or negative, I connect with and express Love for the instance of myself at that particular moment in time (Self-Love). I actually say to myself, with Kindness and Compassion:

I love you Dani-who-I-was.

Then I bring to mind all the people involved in the experience, and send them love in the present. (Active-Love)

I end the ritual with a heartfelt ‘Thank you‘.

One thing to note is that it doesn’t need to be just the distant past. It can be something from yesterday, or even a few hours ago.”

On Presence and Specificity 2

Whenever you start a practice always spend a moment connecting with yourself. (Aadil Palkhivala)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“We’ve talked before [<link; short read] about creating an actionable map for the practice. 

The next step is to simplify it and create an actionable step-by-step structure. This is an iterative process. The goal is to condense it as much as possible.

You can use questions to guide you in this process. Such as:

What’s the most powerful representation of the practice? (One Thing model)”


I see Presence as beautifying the Moment.

“What’s the essence of the practice? (One Thing)”


“What’s the step-by-step structure of the practice? I like to express them as verbs.”


On inhalation:

Center, focusing on your Heart.

Connect with yourself. 
Feel the Connection.
Feel your beautiful body.

I love you Danutzu.
I love you Dani-who-I-was.
I love you Dani-who-I-will-be.

On exhalation:



Send love to three people who have touched your life in some way, the first ones who come to mind. (Improv)

I love you x.
I love you y.
I love you z.

Thank you.

Feel the (Inter-)Connection.

Picture yourself as the Sun. Gradually expand with each exhalation, sending love to more and more people, until you reach all humanity.”

“It’s a good idea to also create a minified version of the practice for when time is limited.”

Applied Positivity

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I wish she stopped sending me all these pictures and videos.”

“Always look on the bright side of things.

She thought of you, and wanted to share them with you.

Appreciate it, and send love back, even if only in your mind.

On dealing with negative thoughts

To give one small illustration, whenever somebody is unkind to me, I can immediately unroll the panorama of that person’s good qualities. Instantly the balance is set right. As with most skills, this is a matter of practice. When you are having trouble getting along with someone, a simple first step is to sit down quietly and recall how many times that person has given you support. You are using positive memories to drive out negative ones before they have a chance to crowd together and form a mob, which is all resentment really is.

The first strategy is literally ‘changing one thought for another’: a negative thought for a positive one, an unkind thought for a kind one. ‘Just as a carpenter uses a small peg to drive out a bigger one,’ the Buddha says, ‘you can use a right thought to drive out one that is wrong.’

(Eknath Eswaran, Conquest of Mind)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What’s your practice for dealing with negative thoughts?”

“The essence of the practice is, in Eknath Eswaran’s words,

changing one thought for another: a negative thought for a positive one, an unkind thought for a kind one.

Whenever a negative thought arises, I think/feel ‘Loving Kindness‘, and say to myself: ‘I love you Dani‘.

“You can take it one step further.

Turn negative thoughts into creative inspiration.”


“Think of the negative thought as a seed, from which you branch out to create a beautiful tree.”

“Like a mind-map?”

“Precisely. A mental mind-map focused on positivity and beauty.

You can even have a word or phrase that initiates the process.

For me it’s Connections.

What if you’re dealing with recurring negative thoughts?”

“Think of each as one more rep(etition), one more beautiful opportunity for practice.”

Gratitude Flooding

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is Gratitude Flooding?”

“It’s a little Gratitude game.

Close your eyes (or not) and think of every single item in your possession, including every item of clothing, and express Gratitude for them.

Don’t just go through the motions, feel it, and let Gratitude flood your heart.

The game might look like this (personal example):

Thank you for my T-shirt.
Thank you for my jumper.
Thank you for my trousers.
Thank you for my underwear. (Yes, that too.)
Thank you for my socks.
Thank you for my watch.

Thank you for my backpack.
Thank you for my water bottle.
Thank you for my phone.
Thank you for my Kindle.
Thank you for my books.
Thank you for my mp3 player.
Thank you for my music.

Then I evoke in my mind the vast network [<link; short read] of people involved in me having those things. I thank all of them as well and send them Love.

Then I evoke in my mind the vast network of people that is Humanity. I express gratitude for being part of it, and send Love to all members of my Big Family.”

Reclaiming verbal empties

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Thank you.”

“Do you actually feel Gratitude (substantial), or just going through the motions (formal)?”

“I guess I was kind of going through the motions.”

“We sometimes utter words without connecting with their meaning. I call such instances verbal empties.

One component of Artful Living is the reclaiming of verbal empties.

Saying ‘thank you’ is a beautiful opportunity to practice Gratitude.

Saying ‘I love x’ is a beautiful opportunity to connect with the universe of Love.

Healing the Past

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

One of the many facets of the Art of (Playful) Living, and maybe the most important, is the relationship you have with yourself. I like to think of it as Connection. More specifically, connection with four aspects of yourself. In my case:

Dani-who-I-was (past)
Dani-who-I-am (present)
Dani-who-I-will-be (future)

I think of them in Romanian, my native language, because they are more powerful:

Dani-care-am-fost (past)
Dani-care-sunt (present)
Dani-care-voi-fi (future)

“Isn’t Dani-child the same as Dani-who-I-was?”

“No. Dani-child is always with me, the embodiment of Playfulness, Curiosity, and Creativity, the expression of what the ancient Greeks called ‘Entheos’, and what the ancient Romans called ‘Genius’, the Divine Within.

The connection with Dani-who-I-will-be can profoundly influence your actions in the present.

If you deeply FEEL the connection, and you connect this with your ultimate Purpose in this fleeting life of ours, you will never again engage in activities that may bring you harm (eg smoking).

But that’s not what I want to focus on now. What I want to focus on is the connection with Dani-who-I-was.

For a very long period of my life, the past felt like a burden. Not knowing how to deal with painful memories, I constantly and futilely tried to chase them away from my mind… but they’d always return. Like maybe most people, my coping mechanism was addiction (to video games, drinking, entertainment, etc).

Not anymore, and NEVER AGAIN.

I managed to completely and radically turn the relationship with my past upside down, where what used to bring pain, now is a source of only deep Joy. This is one of the most important accomplishments on my Journey so far.”

“How did you manage that?”

I learned to love myself unconditionally.

I’d heard of the importance of self-love many times before, but I didn’t know how to do it. Until one day I stumbled upon a video on YouTube by a guy called Aziz Gazipura. I liked it, I watched a few more of his videos, and decided to read one of his books, The Art of Extraordinary Confidence, which I did. There was one idea from that book that changed my life.”

“What was it?”

The PRACTICE of saying to myself: ‘I love you, Dani.’

When I first tried it, while looking at myself in the mirror, I got tears in my eyes. That’s when I realized how powerful this is.

It’s been a few years since then, and I’ve been doing that EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I start and end every day by saying it to myself, I do it every single time I look at myself in the mirror, every time I fail, every time I succeed, every time I think about the future, and every time I think about the past.

That’s how I healed the relationship with Dani-who-I-was and my past.

Every time I remembered an experience from the past, I would say to myself ‘I love you Dani‘. Every painful memory became a healing moment. And you know you’ve healed something when it no longer returns.

Instead of trying to avoid them, as I’d done in the past, I started to look for painful memories. And there were thousands of them.”

“You mean ‘hundreds‘?”

“You’re right, I’m exaggerating. But they did feel endless once.

This is yet another instance of compounding.

All these little instances of self-love add up until, seemingly out of the blue, thinking about the past brings only deep lasting Peace.

Only, it wasn’t out of the blue. It was the manifestation of the cumulative process that preceded it.”

Reversal of Desire

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

Love that which grows and strengthens you.

“Even the pain?”

Especially the pain.

“Isn’t that a bit masochistic?”

“Not at all. It’s a matter of intention and perception. Masochism is love of pain for the sake of it. What I’m referring to is love of pain only in so far as (and because) it helps you grow.”

“Easier said than done.”

“Everything worth doing takes effort.”