Our lives are busy. We are distracted, juggling tasks, responding to communications, rushing to the next event. Even when we have some down time, our minds are busy rethinking past events and conversations or planning and worrying about what's to come. This "busy mind" state is a problem. First, it can make us feel chaotic, increasing harmful stress. Second, it keeps us from enjoying the moments in which we are free and from being aware and present of any number of wonderful things going on around us. Finally, it can damage our relationships in ways that we don't immediately understand. People are often their phones in the presence of a significant other, friend or family member - essentially ignoring, rather than paying attention to them, and missing out on the opportunity to share great conversation or a moment of shared affection. We must work hard to make a habit of paying attention to others, and not letting our busy minds get in the way of meaningful and essential interactions.
Internal "red lights" are common in our daily lives. We often hold ourselves back from doing or saying something that could bring us joy. We do so even when our heart tells us to go ahead. Why do we hesitate, only to lose the moment? The habit may be rooted in a survival instinct, but more likely comes from a fear of vulnerability, an ego warning that we might be viewed less favorably by others. True contentment comes from living every moment with a willingness to speak and act as your heart suggests, trusting your inner self to guide you to kind, compassionate and selfless behavior, without regard to the judgment of others. A brief pause before acting or speaking may be all you need to then do what you feel is right, calmly content to flow with your "green light."
"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty - that is all you need to know..." This Keats line is a powerful guide to living life.
Truth is real, undeniable, uncompromising. Acceptance of truth, even if harsh and difficult, is not only cleansing, but essential to an authentic life. We must be honest as we review our daily interactions and endeavor to do better. Those who deny truth only deceive themselves and others, and are incapable of genuineness, virtue and self-love.
Beauty is moving, inspiring, healing. It can instantly transform your mood, soothing the pain of internal self-reflection or external events. Look for and appreciate beauty of all kinds in your daily life. Feel its warmth fill you with wonder and love.
We cannot change the past or the actions of others. But, if we embrace all truth and seek out beauty, we can be at our best, unconditionally kind to ourselves and others.
All of us were born with an inclination toward virtue and to master ourselves. We were simply born good and with the ability to stay that way. If so, then why have so many people seemed to stray toward corrupt, selfish and immoral behavior? They must have been nurtured to wrong ideas and wrong actions. To maximize the good in the world, we are challenged to (1) consistently think and act virtuous, even when tempted otherwise by self-interest and (2) to model kind and virtuous ideas and behaviors for others to follow. Compassion and steadfast moral conduct, rather than direct criticism, no matter how justified it may be, is the most effective way to nurture change in the behavior of others. Lead yourself down the path of justice and righteousness and you will, no doubt, spread goodness in your heart and the hearts of others.
Opinion is merely one person's view. It is not fact. No doubt, others have conflicting opinions and NONE of them are right. In reality, we don't really know most of what we speak about.
Embrace it! Not knowing is a strength, not a weakness. The open and curious mind welcomes new ideas and different opinions. The open and curious mind receives contrary views with intellectual pleasure and without any emotional negativity. Those whom are tied to their opinions will always feel threatened by others and, thus, cannot live a contented life. Not knowing is freeing and wonderful - it opens us up to a world that we would not have otherwise known. Try approaching your day with a fresh, open, beginners mind - you will find many topics to be fascinating and your interactions with others to be consistently pleasant.
Reflecting on the traits that I aspire to, I often repeat one word or short phrase intentions to cement them in my thinking. Be positive. Smile. Slow down. Be present. Kindness. Compassion. Unconditional love. Virtue. Integrity. Truth. Forgiveness. No judgment. No assumptions. Don't take things personally. Do your best. Goodness. Observe. Listen. Wonder. Be curious. Smile. Gratitude. Acceptance.
Think about the buzzwords that will help make your intentions a reality. Repeat them to yourself daily, in a quiet moment, while you breath easily without distraction. I often do so when I first awake, before I get out of bed. If you skip a day or two, forgive yourself - life is busy. Come back to your intention phrases - they will begin to feel like a cozy place of comfort. You will look forward to these moments of quiet and intention.