In a recent article I published on Lifescape artists I suggested that there is a psychological loophole in the way we look and talk about New Year resolutions.
For starters, the word “Year” in New Year, subconsciously (and wrongfully) suggests a timeframe we are bound with. Hence, we covertly hint to ourselves that whatever we aim to achieve is only bound by a year and not a lifetime.
The linguistics of it can provide the weakly resolute mind a stage trick – a back door out. Personally, I think that talking about ‘New life resolution’ rather than ‘New Year’s resolution’ might avoid this problem…but breaks from tradition and common forms of speech (can’t have everything can’t you?).
Secondly, the type of resolutions we often make are more about sorting out lifestyle habits that swayed out of line –smoking, drinking, excessive eating and accumulating clutter – rather than life changing ones.
They are reactive rather than proactive.
I would like to drop a few suggestions about some proactive ‘New Life resolutions’ you might take for 2010….and hopefully, all the years to follow.
[GARD align=left]No matter how different people’s goals, inclinations and social conditions might be, there is always one thing that is common to all humans – the desire for inner peace.
Some might not be consciously aware of this all the time or their life experiences have completely closed their heart to this possibility. Others might think that their highest goals are nothing like inner peace but more like material success and gratification.
Still, whether we admit it or not, we all seek happiness and inner peace. Nobody will ever feel complete with loads of material rewards but a spiritual void. So many life stories are a witness to this.
If you are listening to your heart’s calling for inner peace and happiness, there are a few rules you can embrace and follow in your life. These rules helped many people over many centuries acquire inner peace, reconciliation with their heart’s desires and happiness.
As I was reading the article “A gentle honesty” on the blog ‘Beyond Karma’ the other day, the Zen saying “After Enlightenment, the Laundry” came to mind.
In the article, Kaushik, the author of the blog and the post in question, was asking how it is that sometimes after some experience of deep inner awareness that awakens us from our limited patterns of thinking, we return back to our same old selves?
To quote Kaushik’s own opening lines:
“A strange thing about awakening is frequently we feel we are very conscious, but then life throws something at us and we react in the same conditioned way we always did. It’s a humbling experience, and that’s the point of it.”
How is it that after some brief moment of enlightenment we relapse back to the same old habits and limited views?
This naturally leads to other questions such as “is enlightenment or spiritual awakening ephemeral”? Is it some short excursion beyond our boundaries just to give us a taste of what it’s like to be in a higher state of consciousness?
The notion of practicing compassion for other fellow humans has been with us since the beginning of time. After all, Man is a social creature in need of meaningful social connections in order to grow on all levels of his being.
The concept of compassion however has in recent times been appraised in value. Its importance is starting to be understood under the new light of a drastically changing world where people are getting more connected, economies collapse and new global crisis emerge. Compassion is becoming increasingly tied to the future of humanity. In order for Humanity to keep the balance against the impounding waves of change we need to grow collectively in mind, awareness and in consciousness. One essential ingredient for this growth is cultivating compassion and loving kindness
Compassion compels action and social change
“You know, there’s a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit — the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us — the child who’s hungry, the steelworker who’s been laid-off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town. When you think like this — when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers — it becomes harder not to act; harder not to help.” Barack Obama
I think one of the most fundamental questions we come to ask in our lives is “what is the purpose of my life?” which can be transcribed into “How meaningful is the life I am living at the moment?” This is a personalization of the more general and philosophical question “What is the meaning of life and everything?”
These questions often arise when we are going through major life transitions or y-points in our lives where crucial decisions and drastic changes have to be made. When we go through big changes our reality bends and shifts because we are breaking away from our old worldview and leaping into a new one. Big changes and moments of temporary crisis often bring with them deep questions about the meaning of life and our role and identity with the changing world around us.
It is not easy to answer such questions for the simple reasons that the answer to such questions lie exclusively within us and not outside of us. Things and situations in our lives have meaning because we attribute meaning to them. They do not have meaning by themselves but depend on our perspective, reality and system of beliefs. The same thing may have deep meaning for me but can be meaningless to you or it may have different meaning to one person at different times in her life depending on her experiences, motivations, beliefs and perspectives.
But how can we give more meaning to our lives? I’m sure we all asked ourselves this question at one point whether explicitly or otherwise.
Happiness and self-realization depend on how much our lives are enriched with meaning and purpose. A meaningless existence is certainly not a wholesome and happy one.
Unfolding the bigger picture
Very often meaning is equated with knowing our true purpose, our mission and goals in life. This is true at some level. By knowing and embracing our role in the big picture of life, we find a lot of what we experience as more meaningful.
Our purpose however is not always clear to us at all times because it is sometimes cluttered and hindered by negative emotions, misconceptions and wrong sorts of habits and beliefs.
Here are a few approaches that help us deepen and enrich our connections with ourselves and with others, align ourselves with our inner purpose and open our hearts for the joys of living a meaningful and happy life: (more…)
Have you ever been grateful about something small or big that happened unexpectedly but has made a difference to your day, your mood or your life in general?
Go back to it with your mind and remember how it feels. How would you define it? For me it’s a warm comforting feeling of love, reward, appreciation and happiness. You know those moments in our lives where we count our blessings and feel happy to be in the knowledge that life has been kind and good to us no matter how small or large that blessing was.
Just the awareness and recognition of it confers a moment of serenity and pleasure that brightens up our day and enlivens our souls. It is like a brief opening in our hearts where for a moment we stop and peep outside of ourselves and realize that life is abundantly blissful and generous but we often obscure this fact with our everyday hectic routines, by giving more attention to negative thoughts and by being too sucked by our needs and wanting. (more…)