This post is for anyone who wants to improve their life and state of mind. You want to find a more wonderful place from deep within? Here’s a very simple exercise I like a lot.
First calm your mind the best you can. You can focus on your breathing, or imagine yourself in a beautiful landscape, or whatever puts you in a calm, peaceful place. Once you’ve silenced your mind (if you can), think on these three thoughts, one at a time.
What have I received from ____________ ?
What have I given to _______________ ?
What troubles and difficulties have I caused to _____________ ?
I do this when I wake up in the morning, before I even get out of bed, and I like to do it for about thirty minutes or so. Just pose these questions to your mind, and then give it a short moment to answer you. Let your own mind tell you the things you should be thankful for, the nice things you could be doing for others, and ways to make things right.
You know that small voice I’ve been talking about on my blog lately? That inner light? That peace of mind rooted in something beyond anything outside of you? That force, that divine intelligence, that pure loving energy, that … whatever it is … it revels and delights in these topics. Just give it a chance to discuss these things with you; you make one step toward it and it’ll make ten toward you.
When you think on these questions, you’re tuning into a mental radio station that is very nice. I would label it divine. The first question tunes you to Thankfulness FM, your daily download of appreciation, positive emotion, motivation and energy. The next tunes you into Giving FM, your personally tailored gameplan to make everyone’s life better, including your own. The last question tunes you into to Self-Aware FM, how to quit causing pain to yourself and others.
If a had a genie in a bottle, and I could ask for anything, there’s no doubt in my mind what I would ask for — peace of mind. I wouldn’t be asking for wealth, material possessions, romantic love, or any of the things which are so commonly desired. I would choose peace of mind, all day, everyday.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if everywhere you went, you just had this quiet peace, this quiet contentment where you just feel fine inside. You don’t have nagging thoughts driving you nuts. All the craziness in the world isn’t bothering you. Your friends, relatives, and family are all involved in madness, but somehow none of it is bothering you. The president isn’t bothering you. Congress isn’t bothering you. Nobody can touch you. It’s not that you don’t see the evil. You’re aware of it all, but it just can’t touch you. Your emotions oscillate between quiet peace to moments of joy when nice things happen, and then back to peace. People ask you, “How are you doing Jason?” “Good”, and when you say good, you’re not lying, you’re doing good.
I watched this documentary on Netflix the other day on Ram Dass. He is spiritual guru who was big in the 60’s and 70’s I guess? He’s still popular with a lot of people. As I watched the show, you see this old man, his health is failing him, and he suffered from a massive stroke which has left him dependent on caretakers to do everything for him. But you know what? This world can’t touch him. Him and everyone around him are smiling, enjoying every moment. He’s out there blessing everyone and everything. He can barely move, but they put floatation devices on him, and then he goes out into the ocean with his caretakers, and they’re all laughing with one another, thanking one another, and all you hear him saying is, “My life is good. I am loving awareness. I love you. I love the world.” That is peace of mind.
I don’t really have to tell anybody this, but our world can be a madhouse. As I’ve grown older and thought about what is important in life, I’ve come to the conclusion that what really matters is not success, or praise from others, or possessions, or anything like that, but a joyful, peaceful state of mind, just like Ram Dass had in that documentary. The storms of this world swirl around you, but you’re centered in something beyond this place, and you can’t be moved.
I mean think about it. What do we all want? We want peace. We want joy. We want to be happy. So isn’t the goal to be able to find those things, regardless of the state of the world we find ourselves in? The world is always changing, but we want those wonderful things to always be with us, regardless of our circumstances. When this world can’t shake you, and can’t steal your joy, you’ve found something real.
You know, I appreciate science, I appreciate physics, and technology, and all of that. I’m involved in doing research and teaching everyday. But you guys want to know the real stuff? The important stuff? The real substance of life? It’s peace of mind.
And you guys want to know what else? Almost like the law of attraction, because I’ve been desiring with fierce intent to find this peace, to know more about it, to understand it, and to walk in it, it’s been coming to me. I’ve been finding it, and everyday is just brighter, with more color, with more life. And the strangest thing I’ve been learning is that none of it is “out there”. It’s not in anything external to me. It’s all within me. It’s about connecting to the energy of God, the creative life energy of the universe, and just opening up your soul, so that instead of blocking this divine light energy, you conform your mind to the true laws of the universe, God’s laws, and then it opens up, the energy flows in, and the more you quit blocking it, the more wonderful your life becomes.
These laws are simple, they’re so simple. I’d like to list them out, one by one, and just talk about them a little bit. These are the keys that everyone wants, and anybody can have. And what I’ve been learning is that peace of mind comes from cutting out everything in my life that doesn’t conform to these laws. And when I say cutting things out, I’m not really talking about changing the world. It’s not the world that you need to change. If that is your goal, you can kiss peace of mind goodbye. This place is so botched up, if you think you’re going to be able to fix much of anything here, I wish you good luck, but you’re going to fail and the problems are going to overwhelm you. I’m moreso talking about reforming your mind, and being very careful what you let into your mind. For example, stop watching television shows that don’t align with these laws. Stop playing video games that don’t align with these laws. Stop engaging in conversations with other people that don’t align with these laws. Stop reading news that doesn’t align with these laws. Stop reading blogs, websites, Facebook posts, or whatever it is, if that information doesn’t align with these laws. Look at everything in your life, especially things which influence your mind in one way or another, and work day by day, to cut out everything that doesn’t conform to these principles. So here we go.
Love This is the benevolent concern for the welfare and happiness of those around you. It includes caring for that thing, identifying with it, not feeling separate from it, and to desire good things for it. So for example, if you turn on the radio, or the news, or whatever, and you hear some talk show host running everyone down, that’s not love. That’s creating separation and hostility, and we don’t speak that way about people we care about, who we think of and treat as equals. Cast it out of your life. It’s killing your soul. You won’t realize this until you cut it out of your life, and you start feeling so much better. Love everybody. EVERYBODY. Have good intentions and desires for everyone. Not just your family. Not just your particular group. Not just your friends. Everyone. Bless everyone. Bless everything. Desire good things for everyone and don’t let any circumstance or situation convince you that somebody is unworthy of good things. Don’t play that duality game. Don’t think of good and evil, us and them, or anything like that. Love, love, and love more. This is especially true of your enemies. Love your enemies. That’s how you end the hostility — love, wishing them well, desiring good things for them. Be on everyone and everything’s side.
This is the emotional expression that follows like a shadow from a life well lived. It’s the emotional after-effect that comes from life going well. Once you experience it, you’ll want to have more of it. With everything you let into your mind, ask your conscience, is this behavior, this way of thinking, this way of approaching life, is this a life well lived? If not, then stop giving it your attention. Don’t live in the cesspools of life. And as for those who do live in the cesspools, don’t judge them, hate them, or avoid them, but love them and bless them.
This is an inner harmony with the world as it is, lacking any sort of hostility, or fear, or anger. So just like before, with everything you’re letting into your mind, books, television shows, whatever it is, just ask yourself, is this bringing more peace into my life, or is it creating hostility, fear, and anger? If it doesn’t bring peace, let it go. Get rid of it. When you have a particular approach to life and it doesn’t generate love, joy, and peace, then step back and reevaluate it. You’re missing something.
This includes tolerance, remaining good-natured, friendly, and patient when dealing with delays, incompetence, etc. Things in this world will not go as you want them to. There’s always going to be flight delays at the airport, that store clerk that doesn’t know what they’re doing, or that very loud-mouthed yet very ill informed person. Don’t let it upset you. I’ve found a strategy to combat this problem. Even if I have important things I need to accomplish and these delays are getting in my way, I’ve personally prioritized love, peace, and joy over any material accomplishment in this world. The same goes with me being “right” in an argument. I may have things I need to get done, but NONE of them are worth making that clerk feel bad at the job or that person feel unwelcome when talking to me. I may feel my arguments and facts are superior, but that doesn’t excuse me not respecting you, or making you feel unwelcome, or unappreciated. We’ve all got enough we’re dealing with in life and we don’t need to be getting in there and making everything difficult. The highest priority is to bring happiness and joy into every situation. Everything else will just have to wait. “Jason you’re going to be late for the meeting.” Well, I guess I’ll be late, or maybe I need to learn to leave earlier. Whatever it may be, I’m not going to create a bad situation when things don’t go my way.
This is the quality of being warmhearted, considerate, and compassionate. It’s about being nice, respectful, and appreciative. It’s a pleasant disposition, where you have concern and consideration of others. It includes empathy. It’s when you’re willing to be helpful to someone in need and not seek anything in return. Be kind to people, and as before, with anything and everything you’re letting into your mind, ask yourself, is this way of thinking, this way of looking at the world, this way of behaving in the world, is it kind? If not, then stop doing it, and stop thinking it.
This is all about moral excellence. Is this thing admirable? Is it pleasing, valuable and useful? Is it desireable? Dig deep inside, find that inner light, and with everything you’re doing, ask yourself, is what I’m doing admirable? Is it beautiful? Is this excellence? And as before, with all books, articles, etc., ask yourself, probe that light within you, is this morally excellent? If not, cut it out of your life. Stop giving it your attention. Let it go.
This is a fidelity to the original. This is a loyalty, a reliability, something you can count on. The “real” things in this life, the important stuff, it never changes. Ever. Don’t focus your attention on the cheats and morally bankrupt people of this world. Be someone who can be depended upon. Someone who can be relied on. Be a rock. The world may be going nuts, but you stand strong and do what’s right. And what is right? Well, what’s right always aligns with these laws we’re going over. If it doesn’t, you may think it’s right, and you may even have all kinds of rationalizations and arguments for why you believe it’s right, but it isn’t right, and it’s not going to create anything worth experiencing in this world. These laws are immutable. The only energy that’s real in this world is God’s energy, and God is love. When anything is created or attempted that lacks some aspect of the fullness of these laws, it just makes a mess. I don’t care if your religion tells you you need to break these laws for the “greater good”. I don’t care if your political beliefs make you think these laws need to be broken. I don’t care if your great grandma made you sit on her knee, and told you this is the way it is, and that it’s the way your family has always done things. It’s wrong. Flat out wrong. If it breaks these laws, it’s going to create suffering and misery — PERIOD.
In general, this is referring to kindness, consideration, and amiability. This doesn’t mean you never get angry. It’s about not letting anger get out of control and make everyone miserable. You don’t want to be quick to anger, but also don’t want to be so detached from a situation when clearly anger is warranted and justified. Aristotle denoted such justified and properly aligned anger as gentleness. You’re not one to go off the handle at the slightest provocation, but you’re no pushover either. You have a strong hand, but a soft touch. It is a compassionate approach toward others weakness and failures. You’ll speak the truth, even when it hurts someone, but will do so in a way that minimizes the suffering inflicted when doing so. The stronger you are in this world, the more important it is that you are gentle, and do not abuse others with your strength or authority. For example, I’ve noticed that good corporations have a gentle approach when dealing with employees. They won’t fire you for the slightest mistake, but they do hold you accountable. Most will give you so many strikes before you are terminated, and they make the rules and policies clear to you in the beginning. After so long, if you behave well, those strikes are absolved.
This is about denying yourself and controlling your impulses, when you need to. You’re in control of your behavior. You’re able to regulate your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in the face of difficult situations, circumstances, and temptations. Interestingly, psychologists have found that self-control is like a muscle — the more you use it, the better you get at it. Whenever you’re learning new things, or trying to discipline yourself, if it’s helping you gain control of your behavior, especially keeping you from bad behavior, that’s a very wonderful thing. Most of all, always believe that you have the strength within you to do the right thing because you do.
It’s not a bad idea to view this short life on Earth as a school to help you develop and appreciate these virtues and spiritual laws of the universe. I’ve noticed that if you’re lacking in some aspect or dimension, this universe will keep bringing that particular failure to your face, basically making you deal with it. For example, if you lack self-control, this world is going to keep putting things in front of you that set you off, or tempt you, or whatever it may be, until you finally notice and fix what you’re lacking. If you’re lacking in forebearance, everytime you go shopping somewhere, every incompetent employee is going to be drawn to you like a magnet, making sure they’re right there to inconvenience you. You’re going to keep yelling, and screaming, and getting angry until eventually you let it go. And then once you find peace, you’ll be amazed at how that quits happening to you.
If you consistently keep these laws in mind, in everything you do, in everything you’re exposing your mind to, in every way you’re spending your time, and you use them as a guide to filter out everything that doesn’t align with them, it will really help you achieve peace of mind. You’ll begin to notice a better, brighter world that was always right there in front of you, but you just were preoccupied with other, lesser things.