Posts Tagged ‘Principles’

Principles to Live By – Freeing Yourself from Preconceptions

August 30th, 2009 No comments

"Relativity" by M.C.Esher

"Relativity" by M.C.Esher

The biggest limitation to your enjoyment of life, your personal fulfilment and your peace of mind is nothing other than your very own set of preconceptions about life and your situation in it.

The reality of life is that there is nothing that can make us unhappy other than our own thoughts about, and resistance to, what we experience around us.

If you are unhappy, irritated, sad, angry, jealous, agitated, it is because you are holding on to a mental conception of how you think things ought to be, and dwelling in that unrealistic state rather than connecting with the truth, simplicity and immediacy of what is, right now.

Here is a challenge for you. Next time you notice yourself making a negative mental comment about yourself or your circumstances, stop and ask yourself whether or not that mental comment or perception is necessarily actually true. Look deeply, try to find the root of it – what may have generated that perception in you in the past, why it might have become a pattern of thought for you, whether you have challenged that attitude in yourself before.

Some examples?

  • I’m no good at this.
  • Life has been very hard on me.
  • If only I could afford a nice place to live, I would be happy.

And some possible corresponding truths?

  • I’ve always believed I was not good at this and have therefore never really tried, or given up without giving it a proper chance. In any case, what does “no good” mean – do I mean absolutely no good, or just relative to some other people, or am I just talking about other people’s opinions that I have adopted? Even by those standards, there may be others have have done it better, but no doubt also many others who have done it worse. Relative to at least one other person, I’m probably better. Maybe they could even learn something from me. Etc…
  • No person ever has a totally hard or easy life. Many people whom I imagine have had an easy life in reality may have experienced many hardships that I just don’t know about. How can I say for sure that my life is harder than anyone else’s? Even if I know a lot about their life, and think that their circumstances make it easy, is it not possible that they have their own private inner torment, and that they in fact experience life as even harder than I have done? Etc…
  • If I look back, I can remember thinking that I would be happy if only lots of different things had happened, and by now in fact some of them have happened. And yet I am probably no more or less happy than I was then. Actually I am sometimes happy now anyway, at least if I’m not thinking about wanting a nicer place to live. And who’s to say that even if I bought an expensive house, I would soon get used to it and then start noticing lots of little things that weren’t as good as I had imagined. Etc…

So even if you still think or feel that something is probably true, just the recognition that there is at least a small possibility that it may not be true is enough to begin the process of freeing yourself, and allowing yourself to experience the current moment a little more fully, with greater presence, greater joy.

And from that point on, it is simply a matter of rinsing and repeating, rinsing and repeating. Each time you notice and challenge your own preconceptions, their grip upon you becomes diminished. Even though some patterns of thought may be deeply embedded and ingrained, a continuing process of self-observation will eventually wash them away, and leave you freer, lighter, and more alive.

Principles to Live By – Balance

July 18th, 2009 2 comments

I intend to write about some principles that I have found to be invaluable in my own life.

Obviously I am writing about them as ideals. As imperfect humans we do not always manage to manifest our ideals perfectly. However, maintaining the intention to do so is a powerful practice in its own right.

The first one I will tackle is balance.

Do you lead a balanced life? Are you a rounded person? Do you maintain balance and poise no matter what is happening around you? Or are there aspects of yourself which are a little out of kilter?

The principle of balance works in many ways, at many levels. For example

  • Physically – Are you equally strong on both sides of your body, or equally supple? Is your upper body more or less well developed than you lower body? Of course we do not have complete control over these things due to our genetics, past accidents or influences which have left their marks. But we do have control over how we sit, stand, move and exercise and whether we put more effort into our weaker areas than our stronger ones, and whether we focus too much on one type of exercise which might overdevelop one aspect of ourselves in relation to others.
  • Emotionally – Are you more or less emotionally strong or resilient than you are physically or mentally strong? Do you repress your emotions or are you perhaps too easily emotionally aroused or too quick to dump your emotions onto others? Do you willingly put yourself into situations which you know will challenge you emotionally, or are you emotionally timid?
  • Mentally – Can you see both sides of an argument? Having decided on something after reasoning it through, are you able to maintain your resolve? Or do you often allow your emotions to hijack your thoughts?
  • Spiritually – Do you have a voice of conscience, a set of morals or standards that inform your thoughts, feelings and actions? Are your standards too highly enforced, leaving you often feeling guilty and repressed in your humanness, or do you overindulge yourself and put your standards aside rather too often?

In all these things (and in other aspects of life too), working towards balancing ourselves invariably leads to a higher quality of life.

If you thoughtfully examine current affairs, news and world events, it is possible to see how lack of balance of one kind or another has contributed to tensions and turmoil. Almost all distress in life comes through lack of balance of one sort or another and although much of the distress that you feel may come principally through a lack of balance by other people, groups or nations, balancing ourselves lessens the likelihood that we will inflict harm on others, and thus reduce the endless cycle of action and reaction that often ensues from this.

Although it is often futile to attempt to moderate the extreme or unbalanced behaviour of others through mental persuasion, the example that you set in your own life can be far more subtly influential, at least to those near enough to you to experience your presence and state of being. And with the whole world being within just six degrees of separation, any positive influence you have within your own immediate life sphere can spread far and wide – probably much more so than you might imagine.

Good luck with your efforts at finding a dynamic balance!

And in future articles, I will be seeking to do my own bit by covering a healthy balance of topics.

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