Apr 1, 2013

The Tao Of Bugs: Everyday Zen, Emotional Intelligence & Happiness With Bugs Bunny

"To be conscious of the original mind, the original nature -
Just this is the great disease of Zen!" Zenrin (Zen Master)

Upswept Hare...

Does Bugs know that the self is something the ego creates? So he doesn't imagine anything and just deals with the moment. In other words...

Changing perspectives can be as easy as changing as putting on a hat (it's like being a parent to your kids & an employee to your boss, i.e. you 'wear different hats' in interacting with each individual):

Being in sync with The Tao of Bugs means that you are not limited to being any particular 'self' or person. If you feel like you have low self-esteem you can change that self. If you feel like you are not comfortable is social situations, you can change that image too. Any limiting image you have of yourself can be changed as you create your 'self' or how you want to be.

Going deeper into the hat analogy  in the first video above (the following 25 minute cartoon was written to help people understand basic child psychology)...

If the video above is not working, you can download it here or watch it below

Zen or Beginner's Mind...

Bodhidharma was probably a teacher of yoga and qigong, as were many of the teachers of his day. His writings cover only his philosophy of mind which came to be known as “Zen”.

“You ask. That’s your mind. I answer. That’s my mind. If I had no mind, how could I answer? If you had no mind, how could you ask? That which asks is your mind.”

 The act of perceiving anything, be it a question, or a thought, an image – anything – is an act of the mind.

 When you ask for a definition of the mind, it is the mind that asks about itself.

 “But the mind has no form and its awareness no limit.”

 Any form or image you can imagine is a creation of your mind.

 “All appearances are illusions. They have no fixed existence, no constant form. They’reimpermanent.” (also read "The Nature of the Self")

People grow and idle. Mountains erode over the millennia by the wind and rain. Given a large enough perspective on time, everything is impermanent. Everything is a ‘flow’ of the force. As quantum mechanics describe it, the material world (matter) is like foam on the patterns of vibration which pervades the universe. As long as you re attached to appearances, your unaware that your mind is empty. By clinging to appearances you lose your connection with the force [i.e. you cannot be grounded if your mental balance is attached to something that is constantly changing or is by it's very nature 'impermanent'] . (Also read this article.)

Since any conception is a creation of your mind, then it follows that your mind is basically empty. (it creates your thoughts, what creates it? As you think of an answer, notice,  it is the mind coming up with more images/words describing itself)

“The mind’s capacity is limitless, and its manifestations are inexhaustible. Seeing forms with your eyes, hearing sounds with your ears, smelling odors with your nose, tasting flavors with your tongue, every movement or state is all your mind. At every moment, where language can’t go, that’s your mind.”

Every time you try to imagine something outside of your mind you can’t, because it is your mind that is doing the perceiving. To know that the object you see is a tree, is a conception you have that you have imposed on it. To see an object with out defining it, is still your mind but in a state of direct experience – with out any conception.

Definition of Enlightenment = heightened awareness that can be maintained constantly

Definition of Nirvana = a state where the self (or yourself that you create in your mind) ceases to exist and all the world is experienced directly.

“To search for enlightenment or nirvana beyond this mind is impossible.”

Translation: The idea here is that as soon as you begin ‘seeking’ an experience, you have put that experience into a category and separated it from yourself.

Then you chase this conception you have of what ‘enlightenment’ or ‘nirvana’ should be.

As long as you have an image to chase, i.e. your mind is chasing something it has created; you will be like a donkey with a carrot forever just out of reach, going round and round attaining nothing. Why? Because all enlightenment/nirvana are attributes of your mind itself. You already have what you seek. So looking for what you already have is pointless .

Bugs Bunny In "Hare-Way To The Stars"

Exercise: Walking Meditation

Goal: Letting go of the self-reflexive aspect of the mind and experiencing yourself and your environment with greater awareness.

This is a great meditation to 'get out of your head' and expand your awareness of your surroundings.

While walking start becoming aware of your breath. Expand this awareness to include the feel of the clothes on your body and the feel of your feet on the ground. While continuing your awareness of your breath and body, become aware of the place you are walking and the scenery around you. Finally, being aware of breath, body and surroundings add the huge dome of the sky above you and the earth below you. Breathe deeply and relish this expanded sense of awareness.

"Entering the forest he moves not the grass:
Entering the water he makes not a ripple."

A Western Story of the Tao of Bugs:

"Long ago he had heard of an old Chinese saying to the effect that any man who could concentrate for as much as three minutes on any given problem could rule the world. The thought had remained in his mind, and he had cultivated the ability to apply all his intelligence to any given situation. To close out everything from his mind but one idea to be considered had taken long practice, but much of his success had been due to that ability to concentrate, to formulate the problem, to bring to it all the information and knowledge he had, and to reach a decision." Book of Flint

Bugs Bunny In "Wild And Woolly Hare"

Training for attaining focus and concentration of 'Flint'...

Basic breathing meditation tips

-Inhale and exhale slowly, taking full deep breaths.

-Keep your attention only on your breathing. Be aware of each inhale and exhale.

-If you notice your mind drifting (i.e. if you start thinking about something) then just return your attention back to your breathing. It doesn’t matter if your mind wanders as long you bring your attention back to your breathing as soon as you notice your attention is not solely on your breathing.

-Do this for 5-15 minutes.

This meditation is very simple yet very powerful. Studies have shown that this simple form of meditation increases your brain size in areas such as attention and memory. The following extract is from an article from Time Magazine:

"Everyone around the water cooler knows that meditation reduces stress. But with the aid of advanced brainscanning technology, researchers are beginning to show that meditation directly affects the function and structure of the brain, changing it in ways that appear to increase attention span, sharpen focus and improve memory." from Time Magazine's article "How To Get Smarter One Breath At A Time"

Bugs Bunny In "Devil May Hare"

  • The Emotional Nature Of Decision Making

    The myth that 'Man is a rational animal' is so old that people often believe it without question. A modern philosopher, Bertrand Russell, has made this comment on the belief of our rationality, "It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this."Of course, this was a long time ago and was a comment based on personal observation.
    Nowadays, we need studies (which is a good thing if insight into human nature can be proven for consensus), so...
    Study: Emotion rules the brain's decisions The evidence has been piling up throughout history, and now neuroscientists have proved it's true: The brain's wiring emphatically relies on emotion over intellect in decision-making. A brain-imaging study reported in the current Science examines "framing," a hot topic among psychologists, economists and political hucksters. Framing studies have shown that how a question is posed — think negative ads, for instance — skews decision-making. But no one showed exactly how this effect worked in the human brain until the brain-imaging study led by Benedetto De Martino of University College London. The brain images revealed the amygdala, a neural region that processes strong negative emotions such as fear, fired up vigorously in response to each two-second (on average) gambling decision. Where people resisted the framing effect, a brain region connected to positive emotions such as empathy, and another that activates whenever people face choices, lit up as well, seeming to duke it out over the decision. "We found everyone showed emotional biases, more or less; no one was totally free of them," De Martino says. Even among the four participants who were aware they were inconsistent in decision-making, "they said, 'I know, I just couldn't help myself,' " he says.
    Research into organizational decision making has shown a similar result...
    Toxic Decision Processes: A Study of Emotion and Organizational Decision Making Organizational research has increasingly recognized the emotional nature of organizations and organizational life. We now widely accept organizations as "emotional arenas" and acknowledge the emotionally saturated nature of people’s work experience. Even decision-making research, one of the most cognitively oriented domains of organizational behavior, shows a growing concern for the role of emotion. The emotionality of organizational decision processes can be very subtle, as in many highly routinized decisions, while other issues provoke intensely emotional decision processes. Potential mergers, acquisitions, and downsizing, for instance, can have dramatic effects on how employees feel about themselves and their organizations; knowing this can have significant impact on the way these decisions are made.

    Bugs Bunny In "Operation Rabbit"

    Given how emotions affect our decision making its obvious that the more balanced our emotions are the better our decision making skills will be. This approach is addressed in the concept of Emotional Intelligence in basic psychology. The following gives an outline of this approach...
    Emotional Intelligence:
    Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic.
    1. Perceiving Emotions: The first step in understanding emotions is to accurately perceive them. In many cases, this might involve understanding nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions.
    2. Reasoning With Emotions: The next step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity. Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to; we respond emotionally to things that garner our attention.
    3. Understanding Emotions: The emotions that we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings. If someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must interpret the cause of their anger and what it might mean. For example, if your boss is acting angry, it might mean that he is dissatisfied with your work; or it could be because he got a speeding ticket on his way to work that morning or that he's been fighting with his wife.
    4. Managing Emotions: The ability to manage emotions effectively is a key part of emotional intelligence. Regulating emotions, responding appropriately and responding to the emotions of others are all important aspect of emotional management.

    Bugs Bunny In "Hyde And Hare"

    Note:The idea that emotional intelligence could be only inborn and not have anything to do with life experiences seems to contradict the idea that environment has any effect on behaviour. However, rather than arguing that point in this general article, I thought I would just point out that even simple changes in environment can change our emotional outlook and therefore our decision making.
    For example: The following study looks at how a little emotional indulgence in luxury can skew decision making...   "Luxury-primed individuals tend to make decisions that are self-interested and arguably unethical." A second, word-association experiment suggested that luxury does not necessarily induce "nasty" behavior toward others, but more indifference toward them. The findings are sure to touch a nerve in an era of mega-sized corporate bonuses and the parallel currency of limousines, private jets and other pricey perks. After all, it was John Thain's lavish $1.2 million office renovation, including an infamous $35,000 antique commode, that is remembered more than his salary in the final days of the brokerage firm Merrill Lynch. The researchers said that, in practical terms, the same business meeting could reach different decisions when held at a fancy resort as opposed to in a modest conference room. "Working in a business setting surrounded by money and luxuries might well have an effect on cognition and decision making," said Chua and Zou. "Perhaps limiting corporate excesses and luxuries might indeed be a step toward getting executives to behave more responsibly."

    Video - The Emotional Brain: An Introduction To Affective Neuroscience

    Book of Flint:
    The gambler knew the story of the gunfight at The Crossing, but there was nothing to connect the youngster of that shooting with the immaculate New York financier.

    The gambler had recieved his first hint that all was not as he had expected during the early part of the game. Kettleman played shrewdly and with icy control, and the gambler  quickly grasped that he himself was being studied with cool calculated interest. As part of his scheme, the gambler delibertaley invited an accusation of cheating whenever a showdown developed between Kettleman and himself, but Kettleman ignored the opportunity, and the gambler grew worried.

    Nothing was going as planned, and he began to realize that his opponent knew what he was trying to do, and was deliberately avoiding it. So anxious was he to lead Kettleman into an argument that his mind was not on the game, and suddenly he lost a large pot.

    Suddenly, he looked at the table and realized that he himself had been cheated, with coolness and effontery. He had been stripped of more than six thousand dollars with the skill of a professional. His eyes lifted to Kettleman's.

    "You have been looking for trouble," Kettleman said quietly. "I am offering it to you."

    The gambler was nervous. He touched his toungue to his lips and felt the sweat beading his forehead.

    "You are looking for trouble," Kettleman said. "Why?"

    There was no one close by. "I am going to kill you," the gambler said.

    "If you wish to leave the game, we can divide the pot, and I will forget what you have said."

    It was there then - a way out. As a gambler he knew he should take it, but gambling was only a part of his business and he had his pride.

    "I cannot I have been paid."

    "There are other ways to make a living and you have chosen the wrong one. I am offering you your last chance. Get out."

    "I gave my word. I took their money."

    Kettleman had seemed almost negligent. "When you are ready, then."

    The gambler stepped back quickly, overturning his chair. "If you say I cheat," he said loudly, "you are a liar!" And he grasped his gun.

    Everybody saw him grasp the gun, everybody saw him start to draw it, and then he started coughing and there was blood on his shirt, blood dribbling down his chin, and on his face the realization of death.

    Kettleman leaned over him. He looked down at the gambler and knew this man was only a step away from the man he was himself. "I didn't want to kill you," he said. "Who hired you?"

    "Your wife," the gambler said. "And her father."

    Kettleman realized then that he had known something like this would happen. He started to rise but the gambler caught his wrist. "I must know. Who are you?"

    Kettleman hesitated. For the first time since that night he spoke of it. "I was the kid at The Crossing.

    "God!" The gambler was excited. He started to rise, began to speak, and then he died.

    Bugs Bunny In "Mississippi Hare"

    Real Life Examples

    1. Interview: A discussion of rational vs. emotional decision making

    2. Interview: A look at how an emotion such as love can cloud your decision making skills (and a model made by a dating site based on some neuroscience to try and match people together)...

Problem with greed, you never know when to quit...

Problem with pride is that you can  become a total idiot...

  • An Introduction to Empathy

    This post has general views from science to academics that explain empathy and fit within traditional religious concepts and definitions of empathy and compassion.

    Definition of Empathy from Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

    Definition of EMPATHY 1 : the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it 2 : the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this Examples of EMPATHY 1. He felt great empathy with the poor. 2. His months spent researching prison life gave him greater empathy towards convicts. 3. Poetic empathy understandably seeks a strategy of identification with victims … —Helen Vendler, New Republic, 5 May 2003

    A Bugs Bunny Intro to empathy... 

    8 Ball Bunny...

    A Non Bugs Bunny intro to empathy...

    Sam Richards - A Radical Experiment in Empathy


    The above video can help break the "Us vs. Them" mental dynamic

    Above: Sam Richards is a sociologist and award-winning teacher who has been inspiring undergraduate students at Penn State since 1990. Every semester, 725 students register for his Race and Ethnic Relations course, one of the most popular classes at Penn State and the largest of its kind in the country. Through his natural ability of seeing a subject from many angles, Richards encourages students to engage more fully with the world and to think for themselves — something he did not do until his third year in college. Because of his passion for challenging students to open their minds, an interviewer recently referred to him as "an alarm clock for eighteen-year-olds."

    Experience or lack of experience is a big factor in empathy.

    Many of the modern billionaires, especially the ones with the most power and influence come from 'old money'. i.e. they have always been rich. These people don't resemble the self-made men that America so admires but people who have had little or no need to struggle. Have never been hungry unless they wanted to, have never worried about being able to buy food or services of any kind (as long as their plane hasn't crashed on a desert island). If you get everything you want (well, mostly) and don't understand the meaning of hard work or struggle to make ends meet, how can you empathize with people who do have to do this? In other words, some of these rich people with economic and political power resemble the people who were in charge in British Colonial days. In other words, people without much empathy. [Note: Keep in mind that this will not apply to everyone with money or even everyone you think is rich given your economic situation - This is just a basic understanding of how empathy works.]

    There is actually a study on this effect of, what I like to call, 'experience linking to empathy' - i.e. those without experience lack ability to step into another's shoes and so lack the mental ability to feel what another person might feel in their experience until they actually have, at least some, experience of what another person has gone through. Here is the study...
    In the first experiment, participants were asked to look at pictures of faces and indicate which emotions were being expressed. The more upper class the judges, the less able they were to accurately identify emotions in others. In another experiment, upper-class participants had a harder time reading the emotions of strangers during simulated job interviews. In the third one — an interesting twist of an experiment — people of greater socioeconomic status were asked to compare themselves to the wealthiest, most powerful Americans, thus diminishing their own relative stature. When asked to identify emotions by looking at 36 sets of emoting eyes, they did markedly better than their upper-class peers. Here’s why: Earlier studies have suggested that those in the lower classes, unable to simply hire others, rely more on neighbors or relatives for things like a ride to work or child care. As a result, the authors propose, they have to develop more effective social skills — ones that will engender good will. “Upper-class people, in spite of all their advantages, suffer empathy deficits,” Dr. Keltner said. “And there are enormous consequences.” In other words, a high-powered lawyer or chief executive, ill equipped to pick up on more-subtle emotions, doesn’t make for a sympathetic boss.
    A talk show discusses the above study...

Frigid Hare:

The Neuro-Science of Empathy with Some Historical Perspectives...

Bestselling author, political adviser and social and ethical prophet Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society.

Note: His use of the word "fiction" is to describe an idea that extends the mental conception of family. A traditional compassionate/empathic view is often is of all of humanity as part of a 'family' with disagreements. For example, global charity organizations or Mother Teresa. [ Every religion has scripture related to this, see TheCharterForCompassion.org ].

Bugs Bunny In "Roman Legion Hare"...

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it's not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” ― Dalai Lama XIV


The Nature of "The Self" and Easy Mood-Control/Stress-Relief

In ancient India a concept developed called ‘Maya’ which means illusion. Since the world is considered impermanent and constantly changing - and you can interpret it in many ways with your mind - it is considered to be an illusion. Thus a common, though ancient, psychological perspective on 'attachment': if you hold on to it as your psychological/mental foundation, you are holding on to something that will dissolve away - eventually - so you are holding on to something which is inherently unstable.
Note: The ancient idea of the world/universe as an 'illusion' has re-emerged in modern physics as the idea of the world and universe as a hologram from string theory (approx 5 minutes into following video)...

[Also read about the movie Mindwalk for perspectives on physics. Watch it 3 times if possible]

Siddhartha (Buddha) agreed with the basic premise of ancient Indian philosophy that the world is an illusion... but he took it one step further, claiming that not only is the world an illusion, so is the ’self’. (Impermanence)

To put it in other words; you are not the person you were a year ago. You know this. You can probably see the ways in which you’ve changed and grown over the last year. You probably see the world in a different way then you did a year ago (or ten years ago). Since you see the world differently, you have a different image of yourself as well. You define yourself differently than you did 10 years ago. What you are capable of, what you can do, who you are, all these definitions tend to change for every person - given enough time. The ancient philosophers noticed that as soon as you imagine a event happening to you - or your role in any situation - you first have to place yourself in it (i.e. you have to imagine your role or character) then you decide what to do or how to feel (this all tends to happen very fast for most events). In other words, every time you imagine yourself or a situation that you are in you are, in a sense, recreating yourself.

Scientific American Mind magazine in an interview with the Nobel laureate Neuroscientist Eric Kandel (click here to read article)

Mind: We tend to think of memory as a kind of library that holds a record of events and facts that can be retrieved as needed. Is this an accurate metaphor? Kandel: No, memory is not like that at all. Human memory reinvents itself all the time. Every time you remember something, you modify it a little bit, in part dependent on the context in which you recall it. That is because the brain’s storage is not as exact as written text. It is always a mixture of many facades of the past event: images, pictures, feelings, words, facts and fiction—a “re-collection” in the true sense. Modern nuero-science agrees with the Buddhist idea of an impermanent self. As Eric Kandel points out that, “Every time you remember something, you modify it a little bit, in part dependent on the context in which you recall it.”

In other words you recreate your image of yourself to fit the new situation. If the self was something permanent and real, then your image of yourself would always remain the same. The fact that you can consciously or unconsciously change your image of yourself and react to situations in a new way - or just create a new you - proves that the self is something you make up as part of living in society. What does this mean? This means that you are not limited to being any particular ’self’ or person. If you feel like you have low self-esteem you can change that self. If you feel like you are not comfortable is social situations, you can change that image too. Any limiting image you have of yourself can be changed as you create your 'self' or how you want to be.

To walk the path of Bugs you gotta relax & learn to go with the flow...

“All appearances are illusions. They have no fixed existence, no constant form. They’re impermanent.”

People grow and idle. Mountains erode over the millennia by the wind and rain. Given a large enough perspective on time, everything is impermanent. Everything is a ‘flow’ of the force. As quantum mechanics describe it, the material world (matter) is like foam on the patterns of vibration which pervades the universe.
Since any conception is a creation of your mind, then it follows that your mind is basically empty. (it creates your thoughts, what creates it? So as you think of an answer it is the mind coming up with more images describing itself).

Bugs fighting ...

Since death is certain, avoiding the thought of Death, makes you avoid Life itself (as they are two sides of the same coin)...

Bugs Bunny In "Rabbit Fire"

As a global culture we fix ourselves in 'palaces' of what is familiar and secure. We sense there is more to life than trying to gratify our desires and defend ourselves from fear. Yet we don’t know how to get their and this leads to even more activities of distraction.

For Example; We all know that the only certainty in life is death. If we keep the inevitability of death on our minds many things we worry about will no longer matter. Instead we try to avoid that thought at all costs to the point where when we encounter death we are shocked and terrified and say, 'his/her time came early'. There is no such thing. Without the perspective of our death how can we possibly make short or long term decisions that aren’t influenced by drowning ourselves in momentary pleasures?

"When everyone recognizes beauty as beautiful,
there is already ugliness:
When everyone recognizes goodness as good,
there is already evil.
"To be" and "not to be" arise mutually;
Difficult and easy are mutually contrasted;
High and low are mutually posited; ...
Before and after are in mutual sequence."
Tao Te Ching

Death is always there waiting for you, every day of your life. It is sad, depressing, part of the sorrow of life, but it is not 'early'.

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. - Blackfoot

Whats Opera Doc..


"When fishing for happiness, catch and release".

Since death is certain, avoiding it makes you avoid life itself.

Think about it. How do you know that someone is alive? By the simple fact that he/she is not dead. In other words, death defines life. Without death we would not know what life is. So by avoiding the acceptance of death we become escapists of life itself. Chasing momentary pleasures to cloud our awareness and our fears.

If you are constantly making life to be some perfect image to be attained at some point in the future, you will ALWAYS be chasing that image. If you cannot be content now you will never be content as there will always be something else you 'need' before you can be happy. A bigger car, a bigger house, a plane? This will give a rush of excitement followed by boredom with your new toy and craving for the next one.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy expensive things just that you should be happy first or nothing you get will ever satisfy you. (“Be bountiful and multiply”)

If you jump from one emotion to another, blindly avoiding pain and seeking pleasure with no awareness or separation from your emotions THEN your emotions will control you. You will be a slave to your desire. Anyone who knows your desires can control you.

Bugs Bunny doing his walk... living in the moment...

"The perfect Way {Tao} is without difficulty,
Save that it avoids picking and choosing.
Only when you stop liking and disliking
Will all be clearly understood.
A split hair's difference,
And heaven and earth are set apart!
If you want to get the plain truth,
Be not concerned with right and wrong.
The conflict between right and wrong
Is the sickness of the mind."

Tao Te Ching

More Tao Of Bugs Cartoons

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ― Dalai Lama XIV


  1. Oh thank you for this amazing share!! I love bugs bunny!! He is just mind blowing!
    Psychologist in Azusa

  2. I love bugs bunny!
    This post was a sweet reminder of my childhood! :)
    Psychologist in California