Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of what it takes to change your situation or your life? I have … regularly, but I’ve discovered that adopting some or all of the ten practices below can make a huge difference. For the record, a practice is defined as a conscious deliberate habit.
1. Be fully present, in the moment.
It has been estimated that up to 80% of our thoughts in any given day are about the past or the future rather than the present. Think of it. That’s a tremendous dilution of energy. Being fully in the present means that you have no thoughts about past or future. You are fully engaged in what’s taking place at this exact moment.
I know you’ve heard this before, and you may have tried meditating and concluded that it isn’t your cup of tea. Try again. If you’ve found a mantra disconcerting or you get bogged down in your visualizations, try this: Sit down and get comfortable, pay attention only to your breathing, particularly the exhalation phase. Let each breath take you down to a more relaxed state. Continue for at least twenty minutes for at least one session each day, preferably in the early morning. The effects will increase with time. It may take three to six months to begin noticing really significant changes.
3. Act deliberately.
Have you any idea how much of your daily activity is dictated, in whole or in part, by situations, other people, or external demands? The answer, for most of us is, quite a bit. To act deliberately is to operate from a deep level of inner calm, so deep that to those around you, it may appear as though you are slow to react—and you are! Why? Because, instead of reacting on the basis of whatever emotion is being currently triggered by the situation or person, you respond in an appropriate manner. So, how do you begin to act deliberately? By monitoring your every action and reaction on a moment-by-moment basis. Do it for three days in a row and you’ll be happily surprised at the difference it makes.
4. Develop a sense of pace.
Everything and every being has its own rhythm. You have yours, I have mine, and they are different. The pace I seek is one that allows me to align myself effortlessly with what is going on while still managing to act deliberately. There’s a secret to developing a sense of pace: relaxation. Approach everything and everyone in an aikido-like (relaxed) manner and you’ll be amazed how different it (and they) feel.
5. Periodically, withdraw and recharge.
I’ve always been attracted by the stories telling how Jesus would withdraw from those around him. Sometimes he would go to the top of a mountain, sometimes to a fishing vessel, and sometimes he just vanished. In order to keep your calm and to be fully present, it’s important to withdraw and recharge, regularly.
6. Take steps to eliminate clutter, noise, distractions, and people who drain your energy.
Some people live in clutter, thrive on noise, and allow themselves to be drained by demanding friends and acquaintances. If any of this sounds familiar, you can do something about it NOW. Clear off your desk, skip television and radio for a week, and distance yourself from those who use you to meet THEIR needs. And think about this: someone once described a Master as one from whom all the extraneous has been removed. Mastery, in its highest sense, is purity. So, when you eliminate, you purify!
7. Commit to service.
Do you gauge your success by how much you are recognized and rewarded by others? Isn’t that what profit is all about? Let me suggest a different slant; try ordering your life around this objective: Not my will, but Thine be done. Judge your self and your day not by how much you get, but by how much you GIVE. In time, you’ll be amazed at how this difference in orientation changes you. Good things come into your life more effortlessly and life becomes easier. A word of caution here. You don’t have to find a great cause or become a professional do-gooder. All you have to do is engage fully in the opportunities that appear on a daily basis. When you do, you’ll find that those opportunities increase and you GROW!
8. Stop chasing your mission.
Have you discovered your mission in life? If not, are you filled with a consuming desire to know what you are all about? If so, then STOP. Become fully engaged in your present and let your mission find you. It will come, I promise, most likely as a quiet nudge that something just feels … right.
9. Let go of your attachments.
Everything to which you are attached prevents you from moving freely. Letting go is an absolute requirement in this life and, ultimately, OF this life. But there’s a kicker here: it is imperative to reach the point in your thinking where letting go becomes a joyous act rather than a personal sacrifice.
10. Love unconditionally.
I saved this one till last, because it is the most difficult. To love unconditionally means just that: to love without any strings attached. It’s the toughest kind of love, because it is often most needed in situations that can best be described as unjust or unfair. So, why is it necessary to love unconditionally? I suppose there are many reasons, but one stands out in my mind above all others. It is this: Unconditional (even non-verbal) love HEALS. So, there you have it. If this list hits home, begin practicing unconditional love today by sharing it with your friends, relatives, co-workers, and acquaintances. Even one of these practices, consistently followed, can make a difference in you (their) life.
About the Submitter
The original source is: Written by Shale Paul. Copyright 1997, Shale Paul. May be reproduced or transmitted in its entirety including this copyright line.
Copyright 1997, 98, 99, Coach University
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