Small But Big. . .
There’s a reason why Buddhist monks seem so peaceful all the time: they follow certain rules of living we don’t. Their whole philosophy revolves around the idea of reducing suffering. That philosophy may seem alien to you and nearly impossible, but the truth is it leads to higher happiness.
These small efforts will benefit you for the rest of your life and make a big difference in your moments.
Simplify – Buddha wasn’t born an ascetic! He was actually born a prince. He had every opportunity to accumulate as much ‘stuff’ as he wanted. But he didn’t. Instead, he saw through the vain attempts of materialistic fulfillment and decided there had to be some other answer. More to the point: happiness comes from within, so why seek it outside of ourselves? With this principle in mind, he sought to let go of everything that was unnecessary and embrace a deeper reality. This is the basis of simplicity.
Give – When you can develop a selfless attitude, you focus less on your personal problems. You get less emotional about small things and your mind becomes calmer. Recognizing that being more selfless towards others brings deeper happiness is one of the pillars of spiritual life; it’s also just common sense. When we help others we find a deeper satisfaction.
Meditate – Scientifically speaking, we know that meditation changes the brain. Not only that, but it changes our very nature. Buddha knew firsthand that meditation was a powerful tool because that was his stepping stone for enlightenment. Obviously, you probably don’t have the time to meditate for hours every day, but even just 30 minutes will change your life.
Follow the Wise – Listen to seniors and those with more experience. This is the path of the wise. If you look around, there are always insightful people to learn from. Older people have more experience which means they can offer countless life lessons.
Accept Mindfulness as a Way of Life – It’s naturally very easy to judge others. After all, it’s part of our makeup to look at others and size them up. It’s our primitive brain analyzing threats and assessing the world around us. But that’s not always helpful, and sometimes leads us to look at someone the wrong way. What’s wonderful about mindfulness is that it’s judgment-free. The main goal of mindful communication is to take in everything that someone is saying without evaluating it.
Embrace Change – Every morning we wake up and look in the mirror. We identify that person as ‘us’. We grow attached to this perception — with our body and personality. When it changes with disease, old age, or accidents, we suffer. This is true of our friends and family as well. Everything changes, it’s the fundamental law of the universe. When we actually understand this and embrace it, peace flows easily and without expectations.
Live in the Moment – Our minds do this funny thing where they try and live in the past or in the future, rehashing old conversations and scenarios over and over again. But this just isn’t reality. Life doesn’t happen between your ears, it happens in the NOW.
In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to remain in stagnation. The road ahead is conquered with small steps forward.
Peace and Love, Jim